February 28, 2019
Pennsylvania Passenger Bus Company Owner Sentenced to Home Confinement in Reincarnated Carrier Scheme
On February 28, 2019, Qi Sheng (Sammy) Zhang, former owner and officer of multiple commercial passenger bus companies, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to 36 months’ probation, including 10 months’ home confinement with the first 6 months on electronic monitoring; a $20,000 fine; 100 hours of community service; and a $100 special assessment fee. In November 2018, Zhang pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, specifically DOT, for his role in a reincarnated carrier scheme to evade enforcement of motor carrier safety regulations.
In May 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued Imminent Hazard Orders (IHO) and a Record Consolidation Order (RCO) to 4 individuals and 10 commercial passenger bus companies, including Zhang, Amy Li, New Century Travel, and Super Luxury Tours (collectively, the affiliated motor carriers). The Orders directed the individuals and companies to cease all commercial motor carrier operations. In the IHOs, FMCSA stated that the affiliated motor carriers were under the common control and management of New Century Travel, Li, and Zhang, and their continued operations posed an imminent hazard to public safety. Previously, FMCSA had placed components of the affiliated motor carriers out of service due to various safety violations. For example, the Agency took Super Luxury Tours out of service after a March 2011 bus crash that killed two people and injured dozens.
In June 2013, FMCSA and the defendants entered into an Agreement and Stipulated Order for Rescission (ASOR) of the IHOs and RCO in which the affiliated motor carriers agreed to register any subsequent motor carrier operations under the name Black Leopard Travel. In October 2013, during a mandatory compliance review of Bus Go Bus, a commercial motor carrier located in Massachusetts, FMCSA found both serious noncompliance with safety regulations and that the company was owned and controlled by Zhang, in violation of the ASOR.
The investigation revealed that from June 2012 to September 2013, Zhang conspired with Li to operate Bus Go Bus, concealing their involvement from FMCSA so that they could continue operations while simultaneously feigning compliance with the Agency’s Orders in an attempt to regain operating authority. Zhang admitted that when he and Li applied for motor passenger authority for Black Leopard Travel they intentionally failed to disclose their Bus Go Bus affiliation to FMCSA.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with FMCSA’s assistance.