NEW BRITAIN TRANSPORTATION COMPANY MANAGER IMPRISONED FOR FALSIFYING AND DESTROYING RECORDS
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that DARIUSZ SZTEBOROWSKI, the manager of New Britain-based transportation company Wisla Express, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 14 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for falsifying and destroying driver records that are required to be maintained under federal motor carrier safety regulations for inspection. SZTEBOROWSKI was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.
On January 17, 2014, Wisla Express was sentenced to a five-year term of probation and ordered to pay a $75,000 fine.
“Wisla Express drivers, at Mr. Szteborowski’s direction, routinely drove many more hours than allowed by federal transportation safety regulations,” stated U.S. Attorney Daly. “Mr. Szteborowski then attempted to cover up these violations by submitting numerous false driver logs to federal regulators. Driver safety regulations for commercial motor vehicle carriers exist to protect not only passengers, but everyone who travels our nation’s roads. We believe that this investigation and prosecution may have prevented a highway tragedy caused by fatigued drivers, and we hope that this sentence will serve as fair warning to other commercial operators.”
According to court documents and statements made in court, Wisla Express, located at 157 Broad Street in New Britain, 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, a manager of Wisla Express was 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 (“FMCSA”), 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.
Between September 2008 and September 2010, 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 Express, SZTEBOROWSKI instructed drivers to submit separate pay sheets and notes that accurately detailed their hours. SZTEBOROWSKI then destroyed the pay sheets and other documentation that accurately recorded the drivers’ hours.
In response to an FMCSA investigation of Wisla Express that was initiated in August 2010, SZTEBOROWSKI produced the falsified driver logs and withheld other records that would conflict with the logs.
On February 22, 2013, SZTEBOROWSKI, 50, of Rocky Hill, pleaded guilty to one count of submitting a false statement to the U.S. Department of Transportation. On February 25, 2013, Wisla Express pleaded guilty to the same charge.
During his three-year term of supervised release, SZTEBOROWSKI and his wife cannot be involved, directly or indirectly, in Wisla Express or any other business under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
U.S. Attorney Daly commended the 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 provided valuable assistance to the investigation.
This matter was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Felice M. Duffy and David E. Novick.
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