American Truck Driving Academy owner and CDL examiner sentenced for fraud scheme
June 22, 2020
Two men, including an owner of American Truck Driving Academy, were sentenced for their role in a CDL scheme.
On June 16, Michael Jordan and James Welburn were sentenced in an Alabama federal court. Earlier, each man pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Welburn, of Columbus, Ga., and the owner of American Truck Driving Academy, located in Lee County, Ala., was sentenced to five years of probation and a $250,000 fine.
Jordan, a third-party Georgia Department of Driver Services CDL skills examiner, was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $10,250 fine.
Operating under the name American Truck Driving Academy, Welburn’s course was a three-week training school to obtain a CDL.
From February 2015 to about April 2018, Welburn conspired Jordan, according to court records.
In the scheme, Welburn would transport his students to Muscogee County, Ga., where Jordan would conduct their CDL skills exams. From there, Jordan would conduct these exams on students who had not possessed their commercial driver’s permit for at least 14 days. However, he would indicate on official paperwork that they had.
Jordan would also test more than five students at one time, which is a violation of Georgia regulations. As with most fraudulent CDL exam cases, Jordan would pass students who would otherwise fail under normal circumstances.
Welburn would arrange payments to Jordan for the sum of the maximum authorized per-exam fee. Payments were made via courier. In fact, Welburn would place a check in an envelope and have an American Truck Driving Academy employee deliver it to Jordan.
In addition to the check for the tests, Welburn would include cash in the envelope. Approximately $25 was included for each student that was tested. According to court records, Welburn referred to the cash as “sweetener.” On at least one occasion, Welburn paid Jordan $650 in cash.
Welburn was indicted on eight counts related to the CDL scheme, including one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, two counts of bribery, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud. He initially pleaded not guilty to all charges. In February, Welburn entered into a plea agreement for one charge of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. The remaining seven counts have been dropped.
Jordan was indicted on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. He pleaded guilty almost immediately.