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Before yesterdayUS & State Goverments

Georgia CDL Examiner and Owner of Alabama CDL School Sentenced

By Eric.Weems
On June 11, 2020, Michael Jordan and James Welburn were sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama for their roles in a conspiracy to falsify DOT examinations. Jordan was a third-party CDL examiner who operated in Columbus, Georgia. Welburn was the owner and president of American Truck Driving Academy (ATDA), a commercial driver license (CDL) training school located in Opelika, Alabama. Jordan was sentenced to 36 months’ probation, a $10,250 fine, a $100 special assessment, and 100 hours’ community service. Welburn was sentenced to 60 months’ probation, a $250,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment.
 
Welburn was indicted on July 17, 2019 and pleaded guilty on February 12, 2020. Jordan was charged by information on July 10, 2019 and pleaded guilty on July 19, 2019. The investigation revealed that, in exchange for cash payments from Welburn, Jordan falsified CDL examinations for ATDA students.
 
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with assistance from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Georgia Department of Driver Services.
Date: 
Thursday, June 11, 2020
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  • June 25th 2020 at 14:46

UK Citizen Pleads Guilty To Attempted Aircraft Parts Fraud

By Eric.Weems
On June 16, 2020, Richard Paul Harper, a citizen of the United Kingdom, pleaded guilty to attempted aircraft parts fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
 
In his plea agreement, Harper admitted that he obtained a helicopter with significant damage to its underbelly. In lieu of necessary, costly repairs, the fuselage of the helicopter was switched with the fuselage of another helicopter that had crashed in New Jersey, and the original data plates were affixed to the fuselage of that helicopter. This data plate switch served to conceal the true history of the helicopter’s damage and repairs. Harper, with intent to defraud, actively marketed and tried to sell the resulting helicopter with switched data plates to an aircraft broker and other unsuspecting purchasers.
 
DOT-OIG and Homeland Security Investigations are conducting this investigation with substantial assistance from FAA.
Date: 
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
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  • June 24th 2020 at 18:10

Imprisoned Former FAA Inspector Ordered To Pay Restitution

By Eric.Weems
On June 11, 2020, Manuel R. Fernandez, formerly an FAA aviation safety inspector, was ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to pay $148,145.81 in restitution to FAA and Honeywell Aerospace.
 
On December 5, 2019, Fernandez was sentenced to 75 months’ incarceration with 3 years of supervised release. Fernandez was further ordered to pay a $2,100 assessment and $10,000 fine. He was also forbidden to further work in the aviation parts business. He surrendered himself to the U.S. Marshals Service in January 2020.
 
The investigation revealed that between 2010 and 2013, Fernandez entered into a criminal conspiracy with Avcom Avionics & Instruments (Avcom), an FAA-authorized repair station in South Florida. In violation of his official duties as an FAA inspector, Fernandez conspired to provide Avcom with unauthorized technical publications, notices, and warnings about inspections and investigations and competitors’ confidential information in exchange for monies and gifts.
 
This investigation was conducted by DOT-OIG and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with substantial assistance from FAA.
Date: 
Thursday, June 11, 2020
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  • June 24th 2020 at 15:50

Two California Companies Plead Guilty to Violations of the Clean Water Act

By ada.valaitis
On June 10, 2020, United Pumping Service, Inc. and United Storm Water, Inc. pleaded guilty to violations of the Clean Water Act in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
 
On June 2, 2020, United Pumping Services, Inc. and United Storm Water, Inc. were charged in a superseding information to which both pleaded guilty on June 10. The superseding information stated that between May 11 and May 15, 2015, United Pumping Services, Inc. and United Storm Water Inc. aided and abetted each other to transport and deliver six separate loads of industrial wastewater to another company’s facility. The receiving company then discharged the industrial wastewater, which contained arsenic, to a municipal treatment plant in Los Angeles County. United Pumping Services, Inc. and United Storm Water, Inc. did not disclose the arsenic concentration in the wastewater, which caused the receiving company to violate its discharge permit with Los Angeles County when it unknowingly discharged the arsenic-laden water without first pre-treating it. Consequently, United Pumping Service, Inc. and United Storm Water, Inc. negligently caused a violation of the pre-treatment program under the Clean Water Act.
 
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division.
Date: 
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
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  • June 24th 2020 at 14:00

Former FHWA West Virginia Division Administrator Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud

By ada.valaitis
On June 10, 2020, Edward Stephen pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to Federal health care fraud. Stephen is the former Administrator of the West Virginia Division of the Federal Highway Administration. Stephen was charged by information on May 18, 2020.
 
The investigation revealed that Stephen fraudulently enrolled extended family members in his Federal health care plan, knowing they were not eligible for Federal health care benefits. Specifically, Stephen enrolled his sister as his wife and his niece as his step-child so they both would obtain Federal health care coverage they were not entitled to receive. This scheme lasted from 2005 to 2017 and included several years when Stephen resided and worked in Charleston, West Virginia. In total, the health insurance company was defrauded out of $151,660.53 in fraudulent premium payments and reimbursements.
 
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the Office of Personnel Management Office of Inspector General.
Date: 
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
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  • June 23rd 2020 at 20:30

Tennessee Man Indicted for Illegally Operating an Aircraft

By ada.valaitis
On June 8, 2020, Richard “Stassin” Sexton was indicted by a grand jury in the State of Tennessee Criminal Court in Rutherford County for multiple counts of operating an aircraft without a license, reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, and criminal impersonation for impersonating a licensed professional. The indictment alleged that Sexton illegally operated an aircraft in Rutherford County, Tennessee, on September 8, September 9, and October 1, 2019.
 
The investigation alleged that Sexton, although having his student pilot’s license suspended in June 2019, operated an aircraft on the above listed dates with a passenger on board. Sexton allegedly did not have a private pilot’s license to operate the aircraft with passengers on board, and he failed to obtain a complex aircraft endorsement for the aircraft as required. Further, the aircraft Sexton operated was allegedly not airworthy, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and mechanics who worked on the aircraft.
 
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the Tennessee Highway Patrol Criminal Investigation Division and with substantial assistance from FAA.
 
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Date: 
Monday, June 8, 2020
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  • June 23rd 2020 at 19:30

South Florida Moving Company and Owner Fined Over $1.2 Million for Deceptive Practices

By ada.valaitis
On May 28, 2020, a final civil judgement was entered against Maxx J. Socher and his company Moving Services Accounting and Storage, Inc., which previously operated as Full Service Van Lines, in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The default judgment as to a liability and an order for permanent injunction was for a total of $1,296,566, consisting of $300,000 in restitution, $700,000 to the State of Florida Department of Legal Affairs, and $296,566 in Federal penalties. This judgment did not account for the Government’s attorney fees, for which a ruling is still pending.
 
This judgment was made in response to the December 2018 filing of civil complaints by the Florida Attorney General’s Office against seven individuals and their respective companies—a total of 19 household goods companies or their affiliated entities—for deceptive moving practices. The Federal civil filing was part of a joint household goods investigation aimed at various household goods moving companies. The Florida Attorney General’s Office completed the filings reports in furtherance of Federal civil prosecution.
 
The complaints alleged that the moving companies deliberately loaded people’s belongings onto a truck, raised prices, and forced customers to pay before releasing the items. The moving companies, located in Broward and Dade counties, allegedly used false or deceptive advertising to induce consumers to purchase moving services. The companies claimed the services would be performed by highly trained professional or expert movers. However, untrained laborers regularly performed the moves, often causing damage to, destroying, or stealing the consumers’ property. Many consumers allegedly received low-price, purportedly binding estimates from the companies.
 
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Florida Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division.
Date: 
Thursday, May 28, 2020
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  • June 23rd 2020 at 18:56

Memorandum to the Secretary: Key Potential Risk Areas for the Department of Transportation in Overseeing CARES Act Requirements

By ada.valaitis

Implementing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is among the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) highest priorities in this time of national emergency. The CARES Act provides DOT with over $36 billion to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19 across all modes of transportation. To its credit, DOT swiftly distributed these funds and has begun implementing the Act’s requirements to provide much-needed relief to American workers, families, and businesses. As the Department is aware, the volume of CARES Act funds and the speed with which the funds have been disbursed creates oversight challenges. Therefore, to support the Department in meeting its mission while promoting effective stewardship of significant taxpayer dollars, we are providing a summary of key risk areas for DOT’s consideration in bolstering its oversight of CARES Act grantees and contractors. These potential risk areas and our suggested actions to mitigate those risks are drawn largely from our prior work assisting DOT with oversight of a significant influx of funds for economic stimulus and emergency relief. By maintaining focus on these risk areas early on and putting in place key internal controls, DOT can promote efficiencies; help ensure compliance; and better prevent fraud, waste, and abuse.

Project ID: 
CC2020005
Date: 
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
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  • June 19th 2020 at 14:30

Rec Maint Rpt (172)_2020.06.11-2020.06.18_CSV.csv

By ada.valaitis
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Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 08:44
  • June 18th 2020 at 13:44

FAA Debars Former Michigan Airport Official

By ada.valaitis
On May 28, 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) debarred James Warner of Commerce Township, Michigan, from participating in Federal procurement and non-procurement transactions. Warner’s debarment is for a period of 3 years, beginning from the date of his conviction and sentencing on February 5, 2020.
 
On June 5, 2019, Warner, a former department manager in utilities and infrastructure at the Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA), was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court, Detroit, Michigan, for his role in a complex white-collar fraud scheme at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW). He was found guilty on 10 counts, including conspiracy, Federal program bribery, Federal program theft, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. These charges are all in connection with maintenance and repair contracts for runways and parking structures at DTW.
 
From 2003 through 2014, William A. Pritula & Sons, LLC (Pritula) held contracts for pavement repair, replacement, and similar work at DTW. With the knowledge of and permission from Pritula's owner, William Pritula, Warner created and submitted fraudulent invoices that indicated the company had performed work at DTW. In return, Pritula gave Warner kickbacks. From September 2010 through October 2014, Pritula received over $18 million from WCAA, and Warner received over $5 million of that amount.
 
William Pritula was previously charged, sentenced, and debarred by FAA for his role in the fraud scheme.
 
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
 
Note: Exclusion actions (suspensions and debarments) are frequently for a specific period of time, and GSA’s System for Award Management should be consulted to find out whether a company is currently excluded.
Date: 
Thursday, May 28, 2020
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  • June 16th 2020 at 14:44

MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles Program Initiatives Receive AAMVA Awards

By Klark Jessen
MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles Program Initiatives Receive AAMVA Awards
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is announcing that it has been selected to receive awards from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) for its efforts in implementing new fraud and prevention initiatives, developing an Alternate Residency Affidavit Program, and creating four   ...Continue Reading MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles Program Initiatives Receive AAMVA Awards

North Washington Street Bridge Virtual Public Meetings

By Klark Jessen
North Washington Street Bridge Virtual Public Meetings
The North Washington Street Bridge Project is entering a new phase of work. In July, traffic on the permanent bridge will begin shifting onto the temporary bridge. The traffic shift is currently slated to occur during the weekend of July 11th-12th with all traffic shifted   ...Continue Reading North Washington Street Bridge Virtual Public Meetings

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail Update

By Klark Jessen
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail Update
MassDOT is announcing that the southern section of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail will be re-opened to the public beginning on Saturday, June 27, which includes access to the Berkshire Mall Connector Road parking lots. Meanwhile, on Monday, June 29, the northern section of the trail will   ...Continue Reading Ashuwillticook Rail Trail Update
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