OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JOHN F. WOOD
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
DECEMBER 19, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OPERATOR OF KC TRUCK DRIVING SCHOOL PLEADS GUILTY
TO CONSPIRACY TO PROVIDE FRAUDULENT LICENSES
AT WEST PLAINS SCHOOL
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the operator of a Kansas City, Mo., trucking company and truck driving school pleaded guilty in federal court today to participating in a conspiracy to provide fraudulent commercial driver’s licenses to large numbers of Somali and Bosnian nationals.
Ernest Arnel White, also known as Mustafa, 50, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge James C. England this morning to the charge contained in a Sept. 20, 2007, federal indictment.
By pleading guilty, White admitted that he was involved in a mail fraud conspiracy from April 1, 2003, to Feb. 6, 2006, that defrauded others by denying the public the right of honest services of contract employees of the state of Missouri. 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, Mo.
White operated Muslim Brothers and Sisters (MBS), a trucking company that operated a truck driving training school in Kansas City, which directed individuals to SCCC in order to obtain a Missouri commercial driver’s license (CDL). White had an agreement with co-defendant Orbin Dale May, 64, of West Plains, who was employed at SCCC (at that time a division of the West Plains R-7 School District) to train truck drivers and administer CDL driving tests. May would give an incomplete or inadequate driving test, fraudulently certify that the MBS student had legitimately passed the driving test, and mail the certifying document to the Missouri Department of Revenue. May also provided the student with a copy of the certifying document that the student could use in obtaining the CDL at a Missouri Department of Revenue office.
White paid May $300 to $500 for each student that May passed in this way.
White is the sixth co-defendant to plead guilty to his role in the conspiracy.
May pleaded guilty on Nov. 9, 2007, to his role in the conspiracy. May admitted that he gave incomplete or inadequate driving tests and fraudulently certified that applicants had legitimately passed the driving tests. During the course of the conspiracy and in furtherance of the conspiracy, May submitted fraudulent CDL forms, indicating that applicants had successfully completed the competency test, to the SCCC office, which then mailed them to the Missouri Department of Revenue. May would provide the applicant with a copy of the certifying document that could be used to obtain the CDL at a Missouri Department of Revenue office.
May also admitted that he received additional payment (above that which was required under law) to administer the tests, in order to ensure that applicants passed the CDL driving test.
Howard E. Schneider, 41, of Overland Park, Kan., pleaded guilty on Nov. 28, 2007, to his role in the conspiracy. Schneider is the owner of H.E. Schneider Trucking Company in Kansas City, Kan., and involved in the operation of Muslim Brothers and Sisters.
Schneider admitted that he assisted co-conspirators in directing individuals to SCCC in order to fraudulently obtain commercial driver’s licenses. Schneider also took the CDL driving test at SCCC on Jan. 24, 2005, and knew that the test was not legitimately administered.
Abdulfatah Osman Farah, 24, a citizen of Somalia living in Kansas City, pleaded guilty on Dec. 10, 2007, to his role in the conspiracy.
Farah admitted that he obtained a CDL after testing at SCCC on Dec. 28, 2004. According to the plea agreement, May administered the CDL driving test. While Farah took two of the three portions of the driving test, White drove the tractor trailer in order to assist Farah in successfully completing the last portion of the driving test. May then certified that Farah had passed his driving test, and sent a copy of the certifying document to the Missouri Department of Revenue.
Afterward, Farah assisted White in taking students to SCCC in order to obtain a CDL in the same way. On several occasions, Farah simulated a driving test with May’s assistance, in order to help those students pass the CDL test.
Ahmed Muhidin Sharif, 28, a citizen of Somalia living in Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty on Nov. 9, 2007, to his role in the conspiracy.
Sharif assisted White by transporting students from Muslim Brothers and Sisters truck driving school to SCCC, knowing that May would fraudulently administer the competency tests. Sharif made about 15 trips in which he transported 70 to 80 students of Somali descent to West Plains in order to fraudulently obtain CDLs. Sharif knew that the tests were being fraudulently administered by May, and observed May give incomplete or inadequate CDL driving tests to the students.
Abdiwahab Mohamud Mohamed, 38, a citizen of Somalia living in Minneapolis, Minn., pleaded guilty on Oct. 31, 2007, to his role in the conspiracy.
Mohamed, who had fraudulently obtained a CDL after purportedly testing at SCCC, directed students from the state of Minnesota to SCCC in order to obtain fraudulent CDLs. Mohamed was directed to White by an acquaintance in Minnesota who informed him that White’s school would only cost $800, as opposed to the $5,000 for a legitimate CDL school in Minnesota. White took Mohamed to SCCC, where he was tested by May. Mohamed, who had never driven a tractor trailer prior to traveling to West Plains, drove a tractor-trailer around the parking lot at SCCC for 10 minutes. Normally the CDL test takes two hours to complete.
A commercial driver’s license allows a person to operate heavy commercial trucks – such as 18-wheel tractors and trailers – and buses on the public highways. In order to obtain a CDL, a driver-applicant must first pass a written test. If the driver-applicant passes the written test, he is issued a temporary permit and must then 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 the driver-applicant to physically demonstrate his knowledge and ability to inspect and safely drive a commercial vehicle. These tests are required and regulated by both federal and state laws.
Under federal statutes, each of the co-defendants could be subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Overland Park, Kan., Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Missouri Department of Revenue, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at