Truck Driving School Owner Allegedly Paid CDL Test Examiner To Pass Students
Lee County, Alabama – The owner of a truck driving school in Alabama has been indicted by a federal grand jury for his role in an alleged fraud, conspiracy and bribery scheme.
James Welburn, 72, of Columbus, GA is the owner of Lee County-based American Truck Driving Academy.
In an indictment handed down on Thursday, July 25, Welburn is charged with conspiracy, bribery, and wire fraud.
U.S. prosecutors say Welburn provided cash bribes to a commercial driver’s license (CDL) examiner in exchange for showing his students “preferential treatment” when those students took CDL driving exams.
Details of the indictment were released Friday from U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, Louis V. Franklin Sr.
A statement from Franklin’s office said, “Welburn paid the examiner $25 per student tested by the examiner.”
According to court documents, in exchange for the bribes the examiner agreed to:
1.) refrain from testing students on certain trucking maneuvers if the students were unlikely to be able to perform the maneuvers;
2.) test students even though students had not possessed learner’s permits for at least 14 days, as required by federal regulations; and,
3.) test more than five students in a single day, which is a violation of Alabama state law.
Additionally, the indictment alleges the examiner agreed to give American Truck Driving Academy students the “benefit of the doubt on all road tests.”
The examiner has not yet been identified and it is not clear what his current employment status is.
It is also unclear at this time how long the alleged scheme lasted and how many students were shown leniency in the CDL testing process.
As for Welburn, he was arrested on Thursday.
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If convicted, he faces 20 years in federal prison on each count, as well as fines and restitution.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), American Truck Driving Academy began in 1999 and employs 8 people.
It is located at 5018 Us Highway 80 W, Opelika, AL.
Stay logged on to TransportationNation.com for the latest developments in this case.
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