NEW BRITAIN TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, MANAGER CHARGED WITH FALSIFYING AND DESTROYING DRIVING RECORDS
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the district of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven has returned a three-count indictment charging WISLA EXPRESS, LLC, located at 157 Broad Street, New Britain, and its office manager, DARIUSZ SZTEBOROWSKI, 46, of Rocky Hill, with conspiring to obstruct a federal matter by falsifying driver records required to be maintained under federal motor carrier safety regulations for inspection.
“Federal regulations on passenger-carrying vehicles exist to keep drivers, passengers and American highways safe,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “We take most seriously the intentional violation of these important laws by transportation companies and their employees.”
The indictment, which charges WISLA EXPRESS and SZTEBOROWSKI with one count of conspiracy and two counts of concealing records, was returned on December 8, 2011. The defendants appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith and entered pleas of not guilty to the charges.
According to allegations in the indictment, WISLA EXPRESS is a commercial motor carrier that employs drivers to operate vans and minibuses to transport individuals to and from airports, and tour buses carrying passengers to locations outside of Connecticut. SZTEBOROWSKI, the manager of WISLA EXPRESS, has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company, including scheduling driving assignments and maintaining the company’s driving records.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, administers and enforces the federal commercial motor vehicle laws and regulations to ensure that commercial motor vehicle carriers and drivers fully comply with the responsibilities imposed on them to operate their vehicles in a safe and unimpaired manner. Federal regulations prohibit drivers from driving in excess of certain maximum allowable driving hours over defined periods, and require commercial motor carriers to maintain truthful and accurate driving records.
The indictment alleges that, between approximately January 2010 and September 2011, SZTEBOROWSKI scheduled and assigned drivers to trips knowing that the drivers would be exceeding the regulated limits of on-duty driving time, and also instructed drivers and others to falsify driving logs by recording that the drivers were off-duty during times when they were, in fact, driving. In order to pay drivers for time actually spent working for WISLA, SZTEBOROWSKI instructed drivers to submit separate pay sheets and notes that accurately detailed their hours. It is alleged that SZTEBOROWSKI then destroyed the pay sheets and other documentation that accurately recorded the drivers’ hours.
If convicted, SZTEBOROWSKI faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years on the conspiracy count and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count of concealing records. WISLA EXPRESS faces a maximum term of probation of five years and a fine of up to $500,000.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Fein commended the thorough and timely investigative efforts of the agents of the New England Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles Commercial Safety Division has provided valuable assistance to the investigation.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Felice M. Duffy.
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