Alabama trucking company owners sentenced in chameleon carrier case

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 10/23/2013

Two Alabama trucking company owners have been sentenced for their roles in a type of carrier operation the feds describe as “chameleon” or “reincarnated.” Isaac McWilliams has been sentenced to four months in prison, and Heronda McWilliams has received 24 months’ probation. 

They were sentenced in federal court in Alabama in late September. They had been indicted in July 2012 after starting up a third trucking operation. Investigators discovered that their two previous trucking operations were ordered to shut down because of “imminent safety hazard” orders by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

In July 2012, FMCSA placed MTI Transportation out of service after discovering the new company “was transporting goods for the former BM & L Trucking, LLC and IDM Transportation Inc.,” which received imminent hazard out-of-service orders for serious safety violations, including vehicle maintenance and drug and alcohol testing compliance.

According to the FMCSA website, MTI was granted common carrier authority on May 15, 2012, four days after investigators ordered BM & L Trucking LLC and IDM Transportation Inc., both listed at the same address in Athens, to cease operations immediately because of numerous safety violations.

McWilliams also falsely certified that he “did not have, nor did he ever have any relationship with any other FMCSA-regulated entity in the past three years,” according to a FMCSA release in August 2012.

Federal investigators found that Isaac McWilliams owned, managed and operated (along with others) all three of the companies and that MTI used two commercial vehicles, still registered to BM & L Trucking or IDM Transportation.

FMCSA’s notice alleges that MTI began hauling loads for former BM & L customers and that Isaac McWilliams remained the point of contact for MTI customers, even though the imminent hazard order prevented him from doing so.

In June 2012, McWilliams, driving for MTI, was placed out of service by an Alabama Department of Public Safety officer “because lumber was falling out of his truck onto the roadway,” according to the FMCSA notice.

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