James F. Welburn, former owner of American Truck Driving Academy in Lee County, Alabama, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bribery in relation to federal programs, officials announced on Feb. 11.
According to court documents, Welburn paid $25 per student to a commercial driver’s license (CDL) examiner. In exchange the examiner gave preferential treatment to his students.
Officials said the examiner agreed to test some students who had not possessed learner’s permits for at least 14 days, as required by federal regulations; tested more than five students in a single day, in violation of state law; and refrained from testing students on certain trucking maneuvers if the students were unlikely to be able to perform the maneuvers.
When Welburn is sentenced in coming months, he faces up to five years in prison and substantial monetary penalties and restitution, said U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr. and Todd Damiani, regional special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.
The third-party examiner, Michael Jordan of Columbus, Georgia, pleaded guilty on July 19, 2019, in U.S. District Court in Montgomery, Alabama, for his role in the crimes. His indictment charged him with altering dates on score sheets to conceal that he conducted examinations before students were eligible to be tested; conducting more examinations than allowable on a single day; and giving ATDA students preferential treatment on the control skills portion of the exam by hand-selecting which test form to use when Jordan knew that federal regulations required the test to be randomized.