March 1, 2019
Seventh Pennsylvania Passenger Bus Company Operator Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy Charges
On March 1, 2019, Wen Zhou, former president of Universe Bus, Inc., and an officer of multiple commercial passenger bus companies, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in U.S. District Court, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He admitted to conspiring to make materially false statements on commercial carrier forms regulated by FMCSA. Zhou and 13 others were indicted in March 2016 for their roles in a multi-State scheme to fraudulently operate commercial passenger bus companies.
The indictment alleged that the defendants formed, controlled, managed, and operated numerous bus companies and routinely falsified FMCSA Motor Carrier Identification Reports and applications for operating authority. They concealed both the identities of the people who operated the companies and the unsafe condition of the buses. Zhou admitted that he and others falsified documents that enabled their companies to obtain operating authority, licenses, stickers, insurance, and other authorities indicating that their buses met Federal and State safety standards.
The indictment further alleged that the defendants falsified FMCSA-regulated records related to bus safety, maintenance, and driver qualifications to impede FMCSA inspections and reviews. Specifically, they submitted false documents indicating that the fraudulent companies had driver safety and training programs in place when they did not, and false records related to accident registers, hours of service, vehicle maintenance, drug and alcohol testing programs, and their previous company affiliations and associations.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with DHS-HSI and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. FMCSA provided substantial assistance.