New York trucker pleads guilty to role in elaborate CDL testing scheme
May 22, 2018
A New York trucker has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his role in a CDL testing scheme, according to federal court documents. The scheme involved sending New York CDL applicants to Florida, where they obtained a fraudulent CDL using devices reminiscent of an old spy movie.
Aziz Akhrorov recruited and referred New York-based CDL applicants to his co-conspirator in Florida, Taras Chabanovych. These New York applicants would in turn give Akhrorov cash for his referral.
Once in Florida, Chabanovych would fraudulently assign a Florida address to each applicant. The applicants were then given hidden video and audio devices to take with them during the CDL tests. Chabanovych would supply applicants with answers, which would ultimately lead to a Florida CDL learner’s permit and subsequently a Florida CDL.
According to court documents, Akhrorov received $500 from Chabanovych for every prospective CDL applicant. During an undercover investigation, a confidential informant paid Chabanovych $2,600 for the service. Many of the applicants were of Russian descent and could not speak or read English well enough to pass a CDL test.
In at least once case, an informant met Chabanovych at a Florida hotel where he was given a laptop. Chabanovych told the informant to study the questions and answers. Despite the informant not knowing English, the informant was told that two of three sections were easy and only required memorization of key words. The informant was told he would be given assistance for the third section.
Chabanovych then took the informant to a nearby branch of a bank at which the informant held an account. With a Florida address given, the informant changed his bank information to reflect the Florida address, which would be used as proof of Florida residence during CDL testing.
From here, the informant was given the surveillance devices. The informant would transmit video of the test to Chabanovych (who was off-site), using cellphones connected to a series of electrical wires, a 9-volt battery and a hole in a shirt pocket. Through small cylindrical metal objects placed in the ear canal, applicants would receive correct answers from Chabanovych.
With successful completion of the tests, applicants received Florida CDL learner’s permits and ultimately a Florida CDL after attending a driving school in Miami. Applicants were also able to successfully complete medical certification at the driving school.
Akhrorov was indicted in January 2017 and pleaded guilty to charges on May 10. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 23.
Chabanovych pleaded guilty to charges in May 2017. Sentencing was originally scheduled for September 2017, but has been continually moved to July 20.