Truck Driving Schools, Fraud, and Commercial Driver’s Licenses
Forged CDL Licenses and Outright Fraud Hurt Drivers, Public
You can find them everywhere: in newspapers, on late night television,
even on the sides of 18-wheelers driving down the highway. If you haven’t
seen, or heard, one of the ads that promise “big money” or
a “guaranteed job” if you attend the So-and-So Truck Driving
School, you haven’t been paying very much attention to anything!
Truck driving schools made something of a comeback during the recession
of 2007 – 2012 after falling on hard times during the economic boom
times that ran from the mid-1980s to late 1990s. It also didn’t
help the trucking school industry that scores of schools either went out
of business when federally-insured student loans began to dry up or when
their owners went out of business courtesy of wire fraud convictions related
to those same student loans. The fact that many of the graduates of these
schools would have had trouble driving a truck from the school to the
nearest Department of Motor Vehicles office, as noted below, didn’t help:
- April 7, 2008: Mustafa Redzic, owner of Bonsa Truck Driving School in St.
Louis, was of multiple charges involving a bribery/fraud scheme to provide
easy tests to “hundreds” of students applying for commercial
- September 25, 2013: Three State DMV security guards and eight associates
were arrested after they were accused of accepting between $2,000 and
$2,500 per head for helping “hundreds” of applicants pass
the CDL written exam by providing them with the answers either beforehand
or during the exam itself.
- May 13, 2015: Wai Phillip Ng and Pui Kuen Ng, owner-operators of a commercial
driving school, N&Y Professional Service Line in Brooklyn, NY, were
sentenced to a forfeiture of cash and assets totaling more than $175,000
after pleading guilty to helping as many as 500 people fraudulently pass
the NY State CDL written examination.
- July 13, 2015: Four people were indicted for fraud in connection with about
400 Florida CDLs that were issued to test-takers that spoke only Russian.
August 11, 2015: California Department of Motor Vehicles Representative
Emma Klem and trucking school owner Kulwinder Dosanjh Singh entered guilty
pleas to charges of identity fraud and bribery. Between June 2011 to March
2015 an estimated 100 people paid bribes to Singh, and Singh then bribed
Klem and two other DMV employees, and were issued California CDLs without
having passed written and driving tests.
- April 21, 2016: Vitalii Vitiuk entered a guilty plea to charges that he
and Volodymyr Kurylo had provided false residency documents to CDL students
of VN Trucking so that they could obtain a Pennsylvania non-commercial
driver’s license before they acquired a Pennsylvania CDL.
If you were in an accident that was caused by a recent graduate of a truck
driving school or a driver who got his or her CDL medical card and/or
license by paying off the right persons, what are your options?
First of all, the company that employed the driver is liable for any damages
that you may have suffered because 1) the driver was acting as an agent
of the employer by driving a company vehicle and accepting loads on behalf
of the company, 2) they should have performed a background check on the
driver prior to hiring, 3) they should have checked the truthfulness of
the driver’s answers on the employment application, and 4) the company
should have given the prospective driver a driving test using the type
of vehicle that he or she would be driving. Failure to perform any of
actions 2 – 4 by the driver’s employer makes the employer
negligent, in addition to be liable for the actions of its employee.
Secondly, and most importantly, you will need to meet with a trucking accident
lawyer as soon as possible after the accident because the company that
owned the truck is only required to keep most of the documentation that
an attorney will need to successfully bring a lawsuit for a relatively
short period of time. In most cases the company can legally destroy most
such documentation, whether or not it is needed in a lawsuit, after six
months. If a lawyer has requested a copy of those documents, the company
risks getting into some serious trouble with a court and its insurance
company if anything is “lost” or otherwise unavailable.
Finally, a trucking company and its insurance carrier will probably attempt
to get you to agree to an insurance claim settlement that is favorable
to everyone except you. By retaining the services of a lawyer with experience
in trucking industry lawsuits you will protect your right to fair compensation
for your injuries.