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California Trucking Company Owners Sentenced for Their Role in a False Statement Scheme

On June 2, 2008, Surinder S. Nijjar, owner and president of Nijjar Brothers Trucking, Inc. (Nijjar Brothers), Madera, California, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Fresno, California, to serve 12 months in prison and 36 months supervised probation and fined $5,000 for false statements and aiding and abetting. Amritpal Singh, co–owner of Nijjar Brothers, was sentenced to 12 months probation and fined $5,000 for the same offenses.

The company routinely encouraged its drivers to falsify log books, and once FMCSA exhausted its regulatory process to bring the company into compliance, it contacted DOT/OIG for assistance. The day that DOT/OIG Agents executed the first of two search warrants on Nijjar Brothers, one of the company’s drivers had caused a four–vehicle collision, killing a father and his 13–year–old son and seriously injuring his 17–year–old son. Five other persons were injured. The driver had been driving for at least 19 hours; he was subsequently convicted and sentenced for falsifying logbook entries and served time in jail. As part of the sentencing agreement, the two owners are also required to inactivate their DOT numbers, dissolve the companies, not have any ownership or interest in a trucking company during the periods of their probations, and each pay a fine of $50,000 to the U.S. Treasury on behalf of their companies.