Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, July 1, 2020:
Former Rhode Island-based fleet owner charged with fraud against Amazon
The owner of a for-hire carrier in Rhode Island has been charged with wire fraud and mail fraud following an alleged ongoing fraud scheme.
Michael Chaves, former owner of CAT Inc., had been on pretrial supervision as a result of charges stemming from a scheme to defraud the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, according to the DOT Office of Inspector General. His release was based on the condition that he not commit another local, state or federal crime. He was charged on July 24, 2019, and pled guilty to charges on Aug. 22.
On approximately March 31, 2020, while he was on pretrial release, OIG says Amazon.com contacted investigators with information regarding an alleged ongoing fraud being perpetrated by Chaves.
Amazon alleged that since March 2017, Chaves held approximately 30 Amazon customer accounts under various names and email addresses. During that time, the accounts placed approximately 10,795 orders totaling more than $700,000, most of which were refunded based on Chaves’ alleged return of the purchased items.
OIG says Chaves received approximately $643,324.04 in concessions or refunds on approximately 7,450 orders. In an attempt to deceive Amazon’s incoming inspection process, many of the returned items were in the original packaging.
The majority of Chaves’ purchases and returns consisted of motor vehicle and commercial motor vehicle parts. Chaves allegedly often replaced the originally ordered product with a substitute that at first glance appeared visually similar to the original, but instead was sometimes a used or inferior version.
South Florida physician’s assistant gets home confinement, probation for med cert scheme
The DOT Office of Inspector General announced South Florida-based physician’s assistant Ronald Sherry has been sentenced to six months of home confinement, 60 months of probation, 500 hours of community service and a $100 special assessment for his role in a DOT medical exam scheme.
OIG says Sherry pled guilty in February to falsification of records and obstruction related to fraudulent medical exams of CDL holders.
Sherry was a FMCSA-certified medical examiner authorized to conduct physicals of CDL applicants and holders. A review of CDL medical examinations for 2016 and 2017 indicated that Sherry performed 10 times the national average of CDL medical examinations.
Small-mid-size fleet-focused management system helps automate back office
A new transportation management system called ALVUS, from the Archerhub company (which operates a digital freight marketplace), builds in some artificial-intelligence-enabled technology to help automate back-office accounting and management operations for the small to mid-size carrier. It features a cloud-housed dispatch management platform designed to bring a company’s actors together to execute the best dispatch option possible, regardless of office and truck location.
Nick Darmanchev, founder and CEO of Archerhub, hopes the system helps smaller carriers better compete with the big guys. “We get it,” he said. Darmanchev’s competitive in the fleet business himself, and noted he’s “keenly aware of the challenges that owner-operators face in getting bogged down with admin and process. ALVUS was developed specifically to help streamline those processes.”
ALVUS can automatically issue permission for trusted drivers to issue their own Comchecks or EFS checks for a lumper via the driver’s mobile application. When the driver issues a Comcheck, the right journal entry is registered on the accounting ledger, which releases the accountant from entering a manual journal entry, all while freeing the dispatcher from engaging with the driver about the lumper. Automated billing features take away the need to spend hours matching BOLs and PODs to loads, and streamlined accounting and invoicing processes save time and energy, too. Payroll functions can simplify processes for those employing drivers or leasing owner-operators, and ALVUS integrates well with both DAT and Truckstop.com for automated truck posts — the system can be set to post available capacity in advance to help secure load opportunities.
Love’s Financial acquires two factoring companies
Love’s Financial, which provides recourse and non-recourse factoring services, announced Wednesday it has acquired two freight factoring companies – Vero Business Capital of Memphis, Tennessee, and Foley Business Capital of Omaha, Nebraska.
“This transaction aligns with our strategic vision of growing our financial services business,” said Shane Wharton, president of Love’s. “We look forward to continuing the Vero and Foley commitment to serving their customers with value-added factoring services while combining that commitment with the entire suite of Love’s products and services.”
Arizona extends waiver for increased truck weight limits
Carriers hauling overweight loads in Arizona with “critical supplies and goods during the current public health situation” now have through July 30 to haul those loads without additional permits.
The Arizona Department of Transportation announced the waiver extension Tuesday allowing loads up to 90,000 pounds without the need for an overweight permit, up from the normal 80,000 pounds. ADOT says this waiver is in line with waivers in neighboring states.
The waiver was last set to expire June 30.