Former driving school owner pleads guilty to paying bribes to CDL examiner

February 14, 2020

Land Line Staff


An Alabama-based CDL training academy owner has pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay bribes to a CDL examiner.

James F. Welburn, of Columbus, Ga., and the former owner of American Truck Driving Academy, located in Lee County, Ala., pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bribery in relation to federal programs, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama.

Welburn’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 5.

The examiner, Michael Jordan, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States last July. A sentencing hearing for Jordan is scheduled for March 24.

According to court documents, Welburn paid bribes to a CDL examiner in exchange for the examiner showing preferential treatment to American Truck Driving Academy students when those students took CDL driving exams. The release states that Welburn paid the examiner $25 per student tested by the examiner.

In exchange for these payments, the examiner agreed to do things like:

  • Test students even though students had not possessed learner’s permits for at least 14 days, as required by federal regulations.
  • Test more than five students in a single day, in violation of state law.
  • Refrain from testing students on certain trucking maneuvers if the students were unlikely to be able to perform the maneuvers.