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
JANUARY 8, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JURY CONVICTS SOMALIAN NATIONAL OF MAIL FRAUD
KC MAN INVOLVED IN SCHEME TO PROVIDE FRAUDULENT COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSES
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Somalian man residing in Kansas City, Mo., has been convicted by a federal jury for his role in conspiracy to provide fraudulent commercial driver’s licenses to large numbers of Somali and Bosnian nationals.
Elias Mohamed, 28, a citizen of Somalia living in Kansas City, was found guilty of the charge contained in a Sept. 21, 2006, federal indictment.
Mohamed participated 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. SCCC 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.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Springfield deliberated about an hour on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner, ending a trial that began Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.
Mohamed directed students to co-defendant Ernest Arnel White, also known as Mustafa, 51, of Kansas City, Mo., who operated Muslim Brothers and Sisters (MBS), a trucking company that operated a truck driving training school in Kansas City, knowing that White would provide the students with fraudulently obtained CDLs. White, who pleaded guilty on Dec. 19, 2007, had an agreement with Orbin Dale May, 66, of West Plains, for May to give preferential treatment to students of White’s truck driving school.
May was employed at SCCC to train truck drivers and administer CDL driving tests. May, who also pleaded guilty, was sentenced on Nov. 17, 2008, to one year and a day in federal prison without parole. 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.
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.
Dean P. Proffitt, 74, of West Plains, pleaded guilty on June 26, 2008. Proffitt admitted that he counseled and encouraged May and others to defraud the West Plains R-7 School District. May was one of the persons Proffitt supervised at SCCC to administer the CDL driving test.
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, leading to a fraud upon the school district of approximately $6,000, which May received as a bribe for the illegal testing.
Proffit and White are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 5, 2009. Under federal statutes, Mohamed is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
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.
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, U.S. 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