Trucking School Owner Faced 5 Years in Jail for Bribing CDL Examiner, Only Gets Probation
Montgomery, AL – A former owner of an Alabama trucking school was facing five years in prison after he admitted paying bribes to a commercial driver’s license examiner, but is only getting probation.
James Welburn, 72, of Columbus, GA, is the former owner of Lee County, AL-based American Truck Driving Academy.
In February of this year he pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bribery in relation to federal programs and faced up to five years in prison.
However, United States Attorney Louis Franklin Sr. of Middle District of Alabama informs that Welburn has been sentenced to five years of probation and issued a $250,000 fine.
According to court documents, Welburn paid bribes to Michael K. Jordan, 45, of Ellerslie, GA, a former commercial driver’s license examiner and employee of Columbus, GA, in exchange for showing preferential treatment to students who took CDL driving exams.
Specifically, Welburn paid Jordan $25 per student he tested.
In exchange for these payments, Jordan agreed to do things such as:
1) Test students even though students had not possessed learner’s permits for at least 14 days, as required by federal regulations;
2) Test more than five students in a single day, in violation of state law; and
3) Refrain from testing students on certain trucking maneuvers if the students were unlikely to be able to perform the maneuvers.
Additionally, Jordan agreed to give American Truck Driving Academy students the “benefit of the doubt on all road tests.”
Jordan received a three year sentence of probation and a $10,250 fine for his part in the conspiracy.
“This bribery scheme created the risk that unqualified drivers would get behind the wheels of 18-wheelers, thus endangering motorists all over the country,” Franklin Sr. said in a release. “Moreover, this scheme compromised the integrity of the government licensing program. I hope that this case stands as an example that bribery of any form will not be tolerated.”
Welburn was indicted in July of 2019 on conspiracy, bribery, and wire fraud charges before pleading guilty to a lesser charge earlier this year.
It is unclear how many fraudulent CDLs were obtained through this scheme.
In a related story, a California trucking school owner was sentenced last week to prison and fined $10,000 for his role in a CDL bribery scheme that last four years.
Click HERE to read more about this case.