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
JUNE 26, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FORMER SUPERINTENDENT OF WEST PLAINS
TRUCK-DRIVING SCHOOL PLEADS GUILTY
TO MAIL FRAUD CONSPIRACY
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the former superintendent of a truck driving school in West Plains, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a scheme that provided fraudulent commercial driver’s licenses to large numbers of Somali and Bosnian nationals.
“These defendants shirked their responsibility to help safeguard the public and protect national security through their roles in the licensing process,” Wood said. “This scheme provided commercial driver’s licenses to foreign nationals who did not meet minimum training requirements. Such fraud at the public’s expense will not be tolerated.”
Dean P. Proffitt, 73, of West Plains, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England this morning to the charge contained in a Sept. 20, 2006, federal indictment. Proffitt is the eighth co-defendant to plead guilty.
Proffitt admitted that, from Nov. 1, 2003, to Feb. 6, 2006, he counseled and encouraged co-defendant Orbin Dale May, 64, of West Plains, and others to defraud the West Plains R-7 School District.
Proffitt was the superintendent of South Central Career Center (SCCC) truck driving school in West Plains. SCCC, which is no longer in operation, was part of the West Plains R-VII School District, which had a contract with the state of Missouri to be a “third party tester” of persons seeking to take the driving portion of the Missouri Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) test. May was one of the persons Proffitt supervised at SCCC to administer the CDL driving test.
May had an agreement with co-defendant Ernest Arnel White, also known as Mustafa, 50, of Kansas City, Mo., who operated Muslim Brothers and Sisters (MBS), a trucking company that operated a truck driving training school in Kansas City, for May to give preferential treatment to students of White’s truck driving school.
White had an agreement with May to permit White’s students to take CDL driving tests
on Saturdays or Sundays, contrary to the CDL testing contract between SCCC and the Missouri
Department of Revenue or state regulations. May would receive payment from White above the amounts which SCCC was charging others for administration of the CDL driving test, keeping the excess payment for himself rather than remitting the funds to the school district.
Proffitt knew or had reason to believe that May and White had this agreement, but willfully ignored the obvious actions of May and White, and encouraged May to conduct tests on Saturdays or Sundays, a preferential treatment not offered or given to others desiring to take the CDL test at SCCC. Proffitt knew of and encouraged May to accord this preferential treatment to students of White. Proffitt knew that May was receiving an excess payment of at least $20 per student that May “passed” from White’s school and that May was not remitting this money to the school district.
Altogether, May passed approximately 300 students this way with Proffitt’s encouragement, leading to a fraud upon the school district of approximately $6,000, which May received as a bribe for the illegal testing.
May pleaded guilty on Nov. 9, 2007. May admitted that he gave incomplete or inadequate driving tests and fraudulently certified that applicants had legitimately passed the driving tests. 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.
White pleaded guilty on Dec. 19, 2007. White admitted that he had an agreement with May that May would give incomplete or inadequate driving tests to MBS students, fraudulently certify that the students had legitimately passed the driving test, and mail the certifying documents to the Missouri Department of Revenue.
Co-defendant Adil Majlovic, 21, a citizen of Bosnia who resides in Kansas City, pleaded guilty on Jan. 30, 2008. Majlovic traveled to West Plains in December 2005 and participated in a scheme by May and White to simulate a driving test in order for White to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) by fraudulent means. Majlovic also attempted to arrange for White to train students that he directed to White's school. Majlovic had reason to believe, based upon the circumstances, that the CDL driving tests these students would take would be improperly administered by May.
Co-defendant Howard E. Schneider, 41, of Overland Park, Kan., pleaded guilty on Nov. 28, 2007. 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 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.
Co-defendant Abdulfatah Osman Farah, 26, a citizen of Somalia living in Kansas City, pleaded guilty on Dec. 10, 2007. 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.
Co-defendant Ahmed Muhidin Sharif, 29, a citizen of Somalia living in Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty on Nov. 9, 2007. 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.
Co-defendant Abdiwahab Mohamud Mohamed, 39, a citizen of Somalia living in Minneapolis, Minn., pleaded guilty on Oct. 31, 2007. 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