Owner of Charter Bus Company Sentenced for Bribing Federal Safety Inspector
BOSTON – The owner of a charter bus company operating in Massachusetts was sentenced Tuesday. Oct.13, 2020 for bribing a federal safety investigator in order to influence the safety review of passenger buses.
Le Wen Wu, 51, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. to two years of probation with the first 12 months to be served in home detention. In October 2019, Wu and co-defendant Yat Kuen Chan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to pay an unlawful gratuity and to bribe a public official, one count of unlawful gratuities to a public official and one count of bribery of a public official. Wu and Chan were charged in September 2018. Chan was sentenced on May 26, 2020.
L&W Travel Inc. was a passenger bus charter company purportedly located on Cambridge Street in Boston. Chan acted as the safety manager and Wu was the owner, president, treasurer, secretary, vice president and director of L&W. In January 2018, L&W applied to register as a charter bus company with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which establishes and enforces safe operating requirements for motor carriers, including mandatory safety audits within the first year of operation.
On multiple occasions in July and August 2018, during a safety audit of L&W, Chan and Wu gave a total of $2,800 in cash to an FMCSA safety investigator to influence the investigator’s compliance review and safety audit of L&W. For example, on Aug. 1, 2018 Chan gave the investigator $600 so that the investigator would not place an L&W bus immediately out of service based on two significant safety violations – inadequate brakes and a defective emergency exit door – but rather, would allow L&W to fix the brakes in Massachusetts and drive the bus to New Jersey for repair of the door.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Douglas Shoemaker, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General; and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina Barclay of Lelling’s Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted the case.