Kansas City Business Journal, September 22, 2006
The operators of a Kansas City truck driving school were among 15 defendants indicted in a scheme to fraudulently provide commercial driver’s licenses to more than 70 Somali and Bosnian nationals, federal authorities said Thursday.
The 62-count indictment, returned under seal by a federal grand jury Wednesday in Springfield, was unsealed and made public at a news conference Thursday in Kansas City upon the arrests and initial court appearances of the defendants.
According to Bradley Schlozman, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, defendants in the case are: Dean P. Proffitt, 71, and Orbin Dale May, 63, both of West Plains, Mo.; Ernest Arnel White, also known as Mustafa, 49, of Kansas City; Howard E. Schneider, also known as Duke, 39, of Overland Park; Hiram Chebar Oliver, 33, of Raytown; Osman Abdullahi, 30, a citizen of Somalia living in San Diego; Elias Mohamed, 25, Ahmed Muhidin Sharif, also known as Jerry, 27, Abdulfatah Osman Farah, 24, Abdirizak Abdi Mohamed, 25 or 32, and Yusuf Kalmole, 34, all citizens of Somalia living in Kansas City; Abdiwahab Mohamud Mohamed, 37, a citizen of Somalia living in Minneapolis; Adil Majlovic, 19, and Mersud Kajtazovic, 31, both citizens of Bosnia living in Kansas City; and Samir Hasanovic, 22, of Arnold, Mo.
According to the indictment, the conspiracy involved fraudulent testing for commercial driver’s licenses on the part of the South Central Career Center Truck Driver Training School (SCCC) in West Plains and Muslim Brothers and Sisters (MBS), a trucking company that operated a truck driving training school in Kansas City, for more than 70 Somali and Bosnian nationals.
Proffitt was the superintendent of SCCC, which is a division of the West Plains R-7 School District, where May was employed to train truck drivers and administer commercial driver’s license driving tests. White was the operator of MBS and was mainly responsible for training individuals seeking a Missouri commercial driver’s license. Schneider is the owner of H.E. Schneider Trucking Co. and the co-operator of MBS.
A commercial driver’s license allows a person to operate heavy commercial trucks, such as 18-wheel tractor-trailers, and buses on the public highways. To get the license, a driver-applicant first must pass a written test, Schlozman said.
If driver-applicants pass the written test, they are issued a temporary permit and then must take the practical “skills test” or “competency test” administered either by the Missouri State Highway Patrol or a third-party tester, such as SCCC. This second test requires driver-applicants to physically demonstrate their knowledge and ability to inspect and safely drive a commercial vehicle.
These tests are required and regulated by federal and state laws, Schlozman said.
White allegedly provided the answers to the written test to MBS students, then transported the students to SCCC for May to administer the competency portion of the test. In exchange for an additional payment, the indictment alleges, May gave MBS students an abbreviated version of the competency test or allowed White or some other person associated with MBS to simulate taking the competency test on behalf of the MBS student.
May then would sign the testing form, falsely indicating that the student had passed the competency test. On some occasions, students allegedly “passed” the competency test without being present, Schlozman said.
A Somalian working as a London bus driver sat the written stages of up to 200 driving tests for his fellow countrymen, a court was told yesterday.
Deeg Mohammed, 27, charged as much as £500 for each examination then handed over pass certificates to allow the people whose identities he had assumed to take the practical test.
He was jailed for a year at Guildford Crown Court, Surrey. Recorder Paul Clements told him that his offences could have killed others.
The authorities became suspicious when they found that payments for some written tests had been made on the same credit card. An investigation caught Mohammed on CCTV taking 15 tests in six counties. He passed all of them.
He was arrested taking a test in Staines, Middx, and told the police that he had sat the tests for fellow Somalis because it was not available in their language.
He presented photographic identification for each test, provided by the man he was impersonating. Test centre staff failed to notice that he was not the person in the photograph.
Mohammed, of Battersea, south London, admitted 15 counts of conspiracy to obtain property by deception.
Matthew Banham, prosecuting, said he had been paid £300 to £500 a test. Richard Job, defending, said that Mohammed had not appreciated the implications for public safety. He had sat the tests out of loyalty to Somalians.