Florida man pleads guilty in CDL scheme targeting Russians

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 7/29/2016

One of four Floridians involved in a commercial driver license testing scheme that facilitated at least 600 students with obtaining a CDL has pleaded guilty, according to federal court documents. With the other three defendants’ cases closed, the man’s guilty plea is an end to the final chapter of the case.

Adrian Salari changed his plea to guilty on July 21 for his involvement in the scheme. Sentencing is scheduled for October 3.

From June 2013 to May 2015, Ellariy Medvednik, Natalia Dontsova, Clarence Davis and Salari 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.

With “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 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 their home state.

Salari is the last of the four defendants to close out his case. On Aug. 6, 2015, the case against Davis was dismissed, according to court documents. Medvednik pleaded guilty last September, whereas Dontsova pleaded guilty approximately one month later. Medvednik was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and one year of supervised release. Dontsova was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and one year of supervised release.

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