Rhode Island Trucking Companies, Owners Indicted in Alleged Scheme To Falsify Safety Records
On April 11, a Federal grand jury in U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island, returned a seven-count indictment charging Leslie Cucino and Winsor Hill Hauling and Recycling Corporation (Winsor Hauling), Foster, Rhode Island, and Robert Cucino, Jr., and CDE Corporation (CDE), Johnston, Rhode Island, with conspiracy and false statements.
According to the indictment, using threats up to and including termination, the owners of CDE and Winsor Hauling allegedly directed employees to falsify Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) and not report safety defects or deficiencies that would affect the safe operation of the vehicles or result in mechanical breakdowns. On numerous occasions from about March 9, 2009, through the present, the company owners directed drivers to falsely certify that the commercial motor vehicles they were operating had “no defects,” although the vehicles had serious safety defects that were required to be reported. In some cases, the drivers had received citations of serious violations from Massachusetts or Rhode Island State Police on the same day. A significant amount of the companies’ business included hauling fully loaded truckloads of scrap metal to Providence and Boston.
DOT regulations, enforced by FMCSA, require motor carrier drivers to prepare a daily DVIR on each commercial motor vehicle they operate. The report must be in writing, prepared at the completion of each day’s work, and mention at least the following parts and accessories: service brakes, parking (hand) brake, steering mechanism, lighting devices and reflectors, tires, horn, windshield wipers, rear vision mirrors, coupling devices, wheels and rims, and emergency equipment. It must be preserved and made available upon demand, and is the primary means FMCSA inspectors and State law enforcement authorities use to enforce Federal regulations relating to the safety of the commercial motor vehicles.
DOT-OIG and FMCSA conducted the investigation, assisted by the Massachusetts State Police and Rhode Island State Police.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.