Action in six trucking-related crimes – including a CDL skills testing scheme, household goods moving scheme and more – has recently been reported by the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General.
New Jersey woman charged in HHG moving fraud scheme
Farah Al-Ibrahim, a.k.a. Farah Alhomsi, of Bloomfield, New Jersey, was charged with and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for her role in a HHG moving fraud scheme involving hundreds of moves.
Al-Ibrahim was a sales manager and bookkeeper for a number of moving companies in northern New Jersey. She, along with her co-conspirators jointly controlled and operated the Target Companies, which were separate legal entities, by sharing bank accounts, post office boxes, employees and an office space.
OIG says they allegedly quoted “low-ball” price estimates for moving household goods, then raised prices after the goods were on trucks. Between 2013 and 2015, the companies reportedly handled approximately 1,500 moves – the final costs of more than 1,300 of which were above the permissible 10 percent increase allowed by federal regulations.
OIG adds that Al-Ibrahim and her co-conspirators created various moving companies and registered them with fictitious owners and addresses, and when customers complained against one company, they shut it down and created a new one.
Florida mover convicted, sentenced for theft
A Florida employee of a household moving company pleaded guilty Feb. 7 to one count of grand theft in the third degree after being charged with theft of government property.
Jerrod Devon Moore and two other employees of Moving Squad Inc. allegedly stole coins worth more than $300 while moving items owned by the Florida Attorney General’s Office in February 2016.
Moore was sentenced to 20 months of probation and $300 in restitution.
California man sentenced for CDL testing scheme
A California man was sentenced to 27 months in prison, a $58,500 fine and a $200 special assessment fee for his role in a fraudulent CDL scheme.
Rahim Mahboob pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to commit bribery, identity fraud and unauthorized access to a computer, along with a separate count of fraud including identification documents.
OIG says that from September 2015 through July 2017, Mahboob paid his co-conspirator, Lisa Terraciano, to alter California DMV records so that commercial driving permits and licenses would be issued to his clients. OIG says he was responsible for the actual or attempted issuance of at least 39 fraudulent CDLs or permits.
Montana business owner pleads guilty to Clean Air Act violations
Mark Hurst, the owner of Custom Carbon Processing, a slop-oil processing and recycling company based in Montana, pleaded guilty to a violation of the Clean Air Act – negligent endangerment. He was charged due to his involvement in the release of a hazardous air pollutant and other hazardous substances.
In December 2012, a driver for Woody’s Trucking arrived at CCP to offload drip gas from a pipeline station that transport products from the North Dakota Bakken oil fields. The bill of lading identified the shipment as “slop oil and water,” a non-hazardous substance.
A fire ignited while the driver was filling the front tank of the truck with drip gas, and three CCP employees were injured. The tanks on the truck burned for eight days until the local fire department determined the tanks held drip gas and not slop oil and water.
Florida business owner sentenced for misbranding hazmat
Jianguo Zhong, owner of Zhong Supply, was sentenced Feb. 27 to six months of probation and a $5,000 fine for illegally introducing a misbranded hazmat into interstate commerce.
OIG says an investigation found that Zhong offered a large quantity of Coppertone aerosol spray bottles, a hazardous material, to a broker for shipment to China. UPS rejected the shipment, and Zhong repackaged it, labeled it as lotion and lip balm, and enclosed it in black shrink wrap to disguise the actual contents – a hazmat shipping violation.
Former Alabama trooper charged with accessing FMCSA databases without authorization
Gary Scott Stratton was charged March 5 with computer fraud for intentionally accessing FMCSA databases without authorization for financial gain and commercial advantage.
Stratton, a former state trooper, allegedly gained access as a private consultant that provided motor carrier consulting services to sensitive FMCSA databases using credentials he obtained while working for the Alabama Highway Patrol.