Ponzi Schemes & Ghost Drivers: Unforgettable Stories In the Trucking World

42 Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme, Liability Law & ELD Ghosts

Another Week of Unforgettable Stories

Welcome to another edition of our weekly hits in trucker news, where we bring you the most important and intriguing stories affecting the trucking industry. This week, we’re covering a range of captivating topics, from the excitement of the 2023 PKY Truck Beauty Championship at the Mid-America Trucking Show to the controversial amendments in trucking liability bills and the bold steps towards zero-emission transportation solutions. These stories are bound to grab your attention, as they shed light on the industry’s ongoing transformations and challenges. Stay with us as we dive into the world of trucking and explore the latest developments that are shaping the industry.

Polishing for Perfection: PKY Truck Beauty Championship Kicks Off MATS 2023

The 2023 Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, Kentucky, may not kick off until Thursday, but the excitement is already beginning to build in Lot J. If you find yourself behind the West Wing of the Kentucky Expo Center, you’ll be face to face with the 2023 PKY Truck Beauty Championship, taking place through Saturday. This event is attracting truck enthusiasts who absolutely cannot wait to witness this years sure-to-be amazing lineup of trucks in the competition. Truck owners have worked diligently, polishing their prized vehicles and preparing for the event’s judges to take a closer look at their pride and joy before deciding the champions at the awards ceremony on Saturday morning.

The PKY Truck Beauty Championship is renown for showcasing a diverse range of trucks, from brand-new, top of the line, models to the more antique classics that evoke the nostalgia that makes our industry so special. With dozens, if not hundreds, of trucks have already entered into the competition, attendees can expect a fascinating display at the 2023 MATS event. You don’t want to miss the chance to marvel at these incredible trucks and see who takes home the top prizes in this captivating contest. If you’re interested in checking out some of the vehicles that have already made their way to lot J, check them out here:

Check out the early arrivers here!

Forward or Back? Iowa House Adjusts Trucking Liability Bill

This story is a quicker one as it’s still unfolding, but the situation is certainly worth keeping an eye on. In a potentially controversial move, the Iowa House voted 58 to 42 to amend a potentially harmful reform bill that has its sights set on accountability amongst the dangers faced by trucking companies and their relationship with those on the roads. The bill raises the cap on lawsuit damage awards to $5 million for Iowans injured in motor vehicle crashes, more than double the Senate’s $2 million cap. Beyond that, the new bill would exempt trucking companies from liability for negligence in hiring employees while maintaining their responsibility for negligence in training them. Essentially, trucking companies are responsible for proper training of employees, but what that employee does is up to them.

One Iowa State Representative Sami Scheetz acknowledged that the bill was “significantly better” after the amendment, but insisted it is “still a terrible bill.” Scheetz and Representative Megan Jones went on to share their personal experiences with tragic accidents involving commercial vehicles to place emphasis on the necessity of litigation in some cases. The bill is headed back to the Senate for another vote on the new damages award amendment, but the debate over its merit is certainly far from over.

Check out more here!

Behind the Wheel of Deceit: Michigan’s Multi-Million Dollar Trucking Ponzi Scheme 

A Michigan man identified as a “recidivist fraudster” has pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to several trucking-related fraud schemes. These schemes defrauded investors and the U.S. government of millions of dollars. Franklin Ray, 51, of Canton, Michigan, admitted guilt on March 28 to four counts of wire fraud, including one count while released on bail, two counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, and one count of aggravated identity theft. These charges are tied to Ray’s fraudulent activities involving CSA Business Solutions LLC and another Michigan-based trucking company.

Between June 2020 and April 2022, Ray orchestrated four separate fraudulent schemes, which included two PPP frauds and a $40 million Ponzi scheme. Ray continued his fraudulent activities even after his arrest in March 2022, swindling investors of nearly $2 million while on bail. Ray falsely claimed to have purchased over 2,000 trucks using investments, but in reality, CSA Business Solutions LLC operated only a few trucks with minimal revenue from trucking activities. Ray also pleaded guilty to charges related to fraudulently obtaining $1.9 million in COVID-19 relief loans for the two trucking companies.

Ray’s fraudulent schemes also involved inducing a New York City-based real estate company to pay $175,000 in startup costs for a joint venture that never materialized. The U.S. Attorney’s Office asserts that Ray continued operating the truck investment scheme even after his arrest in March 2022. Ray now faces a maximum sentence of 20 to 30 years in prison for the wire fraud charges, with an additional mandatory two-year sentence for aggravated identity theft. He has agreed to forfeit $42,128,912 and pay restitution to the victims.

Check out the full story here!

Dodging the Rules: ELD Vendors Accused of Facilitating ‘Ghost Co-Drivers’

Insiders have accused some Electronic Logging Device (ELD) vendors of exploiting loopholes in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) technical specifications to allow trucking companies and drivers to add “ghost co-drivers” to bypass hours-of-service (HOS) rules. A recent example surfaced with a driver using ELD Rider software, which allowed a ghost co-driver to be added within 15-20 minutes after contacting the company. This enabled the driver to have nearly 10 hours of additional driving time and extended their driving cycle before taking a federally mandated break.

FMCSA has started to crack down on ELD providers that do not meet federal requirements, as they have removed five devices from their registry this year, which is more than in the previous four years. While the agency did not confirm whether they were investigating the ELD Rider software, they stated that each device listed as an ELD must meet the minimum requirements established in their regulations, and devices found not to meet these requirements would be removed from the ELD registration list.

Check out the full story here!

Shifting Gears: California’s Zero-Emissions Truck Rules to Transform Industry

Get ready for a breath of fresh air! The Biden administration is set to approve groundbreaking California rules aimed at slashing tailpipe pollution and phasing out diesel-burning truck sales. This eco-friendly move could pave the way for a nationwide transition to electric-powered trucks, benefiting communities plagued by diesel pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to grant California waivers for enforcing tougher environmental regulations than federal requirements, giving a green light to state-approved rules.

These new policies promise a significant impact on air quality in California, as heavy-duty trucks contribute almost a third of the state’s smog-forming nitrogen oxide and over a quarter of fine particle pollution from diesel fuel. Both pollutants are linked to asthma, respiratory illnesses, and premature death. Six other states, representing 20% of US heavy-duty vehicle sales, have committed to adopting California’s stringent standards. This bold move sends a critical market signal that cleaner, greener transportation is the way forward.

California’s new rules demand stricter pollution limits for heavy-duty vehicles, like delivery vans, garbage trucks, and 18-wheelers, starting with the 2024 model year. Moreover, truck manufacturers must progressively increase the sales of zero-emission trucks, buses, and vans each year, with the ambitious goal of selling only all-electric or hydrogen fuel-cell trucks by 2045. This target is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a whopping 307 million metric tons by 2050!

Although the EPA’s anticipated approval of California’s waivers is a major step towards cleaner transportation, the battle isn’t over yet. Some of the largest truck manufacturers and their lobbying groups are expected to sue to prevent these eco-friendly policies from taking effect. Nonetheless, the progress made so far demonstrates the growing commitment to greener, more sustainable transportation solutions. Stay tuned for the next chapter in this clean energy revolution!

Check out the full story here!

Before You Hit The Road…

As we wrap up this week’s trucker news roundup, it’s evident that the trucking industry is experiencing significant changes, from the jaw-dropping displays at the PKY Truck Beauty Championship to the ongoing legislative debates and the push towards more sustainable, zero-emission trucks. We hope you’ve enjoyed exploring these exciting developments with us. What are your thoughts on these stories? Share your opinions in the comments section below, and be sure to check back next week for another edition of our weekly trucker news roundup!

If you made it to this part of the article, we’d just like to take a moment to thank you for taking the time to read it. Be safe out there and as always, If you’re in search of CDL A, B, or warehouse positions, check out our open positions. And if you need staffing solutions for commercial driving or industrial positions, be sure to explore our offerings.

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