High-ranking Mississippi troopers indicted for CDL, ticket scam
06/03/2010 - 11:19:06 am
The scheme resulted in commercial driver’s licenses and hazmat endorsements being issued to applicants who hadn’t completed tests, as well as speeding tickets being reduced or put on hold in the state’s computer system.
According to the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General, retired Lt.Col. Joseph Rigby, retired Capt. Johnny Rawls, Lt. James Smith and Master Sgt. Darrell Walker, were indicted on May 18 in Federal Court in Mississippi. All worked for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety in driver services,
Each defendant was indicted on multiple counts of making false statements related to CDLs.
The officers allegedly used their positions to create false CDL test scores and to add HAZMAT and passenger endorsements without requiring applicants to pass state and federal tests. They also changed computer records of some commercial drivers to “aid and abet others from receiving judgments in accordance with the State of Mississippi’s due process of law,” the DOT Office of Inspector General said in a statement.
The investigation appears to have left a mess for state and federal transportation officials to sift through.
The Office of Inspector General is working with the FBI and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations to comb through the Commercial Driver Licensing System and the National Driver Registry to see whether other driver records were changed in Mississippi.
“The (Office of Inspector General) is coordinating with the FMCSA Southern Service Center to correct the driver records in an effort to mitigate any public safety concerns,” an OIG statement reads.
Each defendant faces fines and sentences of up to five years in prison. Court documents show their trials are scheduled to begin Aug. 3.
– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer Land Line Magazine