Two of four individuals involved in a fraudulent CDL testing scheme in Florida have pleaded guilty, according to federal court documents. Ellariy Medvednik was the first to enter a guilty plea since the indictments were issued on July 1. Less than two weeks later, Natalia Dontsova motioned for a change of plea.
From June 2013 to May 2015, Medvednik, Dontsova, Adrian Salari and Clarence Davis conspired to charge unqualified CDL seekers several thousands of dollars to obtain their CDL through false representation of residency, cheating on tests, and getting cleared by a man on the inside.
Medvednik owned a website called russiantruckingschool.com and a truck-driving school named Larex Inc., both targeting Russian-speaking prospects. Applicants would contact Medvednik through the website. Through arrangements made from the website contacts, Medvednik would charge anywhere from $1,800 to $5,000 for Larex’s services.
With the assistance of Dontsova and Salari, Medvednik would provide applicants with documents necessary to prove Florida residence. Documents were falsified as the students were not residents of Florida.
Through “covert means of communication” Medvednik, Salari and Dontsova would supply the students with answers to the written test, according to the indictment. Court documents did not specify what the covert means of communication entailed, only that surveillance equipment was used. The three defendants would take the applicants to third-party tester and co-defendant Clarence Davis for verbal testing. Despite the students not knowing the English language and committing acts that typically result in automatic failures, Davis would pass them at a rate of $75 more than the posted rate of $175 per student.
According to the indictment, at least 600 students seeking a CDL used Larex’s services. Once a CDL was obtained, the holder would transfer the Florida license to his home state.
In August, U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton Jr. dismissed the case against Davis. On Oct. 6, shortly after Medvednik’s guilty plea on Sept. 24, Dontsova motioned for a change of plea. The case against Salari is still pending.
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