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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Conspirators In Illegal Commercial Driver License Scheme Sentenced

Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton has sentenced Ellariy Medvednik (49, Oviedo) to one year in federal prison and a fine of $30,000 for conspiring to aid and abet the unlawful production of Florida driver licenses and commercial driver licenses (“CDLs”).  Natalia Dontsova (50, Tarzana, CA) was previously sentenced to 10 months in federal prison for the same offense.  A third co-conspirator, Adrian Salari, remains at large.

According to court documents, Medvednik, Dontsova, and Salari were affiliated with Larex, Inc., a commercial truck driving school. Larex marketed itself to Russian speakers online.  Individuals residing out-of-state seeking to obtain Florida CDLs contacted Larex’s owner, Medvednik, to arrange for Larex’s services at a cost of approximately $2,000.  Those individuals then traveled to Florida to obtain their CDLs with the intention of returning to their home states immediately afterward.  However, to obtain a Florida CDL, an individual must first possess a Florida driver license. The State of Florida restricts its driver licenses and CDLs to Florida residents.  Medvednik, Dontsova, and Salari conspired to provide false documentation that the individuals resided with them, so that the individuals could obtain Florida driver licenses. 

Larex also assisted the students with additional requirements for obtaining a CDL.  Dontsova, using covert communication equipment, provided answers to the students during the written portion of the CDL exam, the successful completion of which led to the issuance of a commercial learner’s permit.  She was paid $1,000 by each applicant she had assisted.

As a result of this scheme, the State of Florida is requiring hundreds of CDL holders associated with Larex and its affiliates to be retested to ensure that they are properly certified.

“The sentencing of Ellariy Medvednik and Natalia Dontsova for aiding and abetting the unlawful production of commercial driver licenses, and Florida driver licenses, is a clear signal that strong penalties await those that would seek to decrease safety on the Nation’s roadways,” said Marlies T. Gonzalez, DOT OIG regional Special Agent-in-Charge.  “Working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial colleagues, we will continue our vigorous efforts to prevent, detect and prosecute violations of laws and regulations, CDL and otherwise, designed to ensure the public’s safety.”

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Florida Highway Patrol.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Embry J. Kidd.

Updated January 20, 2016