A carrier owner accused of bribing his way to clean safety inspections for his fleet pled guilty earlier this month. The officer who performed the inspections pled guilty to similar charges last year.
Orlinte Cruz, owner of Cruz and Sons Transportation, was charged with honest services wire fraud following an investigation by the Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General with assistance from the FBI, the Texas DPS Texas Rangers Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to the court documents, Cruz paid Texas DPS Sergeant Kevin Cauley to perform “inspections” and issue safety decals for more than 30 trucks.
Since they were Level I Inspections, a second officer was supposed to have been involved. Instead, Cauley conducted the inspections alone. He also marked the inspections as having been done roadside when in fact they were performed on Cruz and Sons property.
Sources differ on how much Cauley was paid for his inspections. A report in Transport Topics claims that Cruz paid at least $20,000, while a vaguely worded OIG report says Cruz paid $4,000 – though whether that was total or per truck is unclear.
Another unidentified officer is mentioned in the charging document, but it is not yet known whether he is considered a witness or a suspect.