Feds Eye Trucking Company’s Logbooks

Affidavit Alleges Business Worked Drivers Too Long

Posted: February 13, 2013

Multiple federal agencies descended on Beam Brothers Trucking in Mount Crawford on Tuesday amid accusations that it coerced employees into covering up work-hour violations. Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R.
HARRISONBURG — Federal agents claim the Mount Crawford trucking company that was raided Tuesday told its truck drivers to falsify driving logs to conceal the fact they drove more than 11 hours per day, according to court documents.

Eleven hours is the legal daily limit for commercial drivers under U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.

Multiple federal agencies raided Beam Brothers Trucking, located at 5978 South Valley Pike, on Tuesday. An affidavit and search warrant were filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg.

“More than seven witnesses have informed law enforcement that BBT management directed their employee drivers to drive in excess of the 11-hour per day operating limit established by the [US-DOT] and falsify logbooks in order to receive their wages,” the affidavit states.

Beam Brothers Trucking was founded in 1932 when Herman Beam and Bertie Mundy Beam purchased a truck and began hauling flour for a local mill, according to a history on the company’s website.

Beam Brothers later expanded into the hay business and since 1995 has hauled mail under a contract with the U.S. Postal Service.

Calls to the company were not returned.

The Investigation

The joint criminal investigation into Beam Brothers began in June 2010 by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General and the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, according to the affidavit.

The document outlines nine witnesses who told authorities of incidents where they were told to falsify their logbooks.

“Witness six,” later identified as “W6,” told investigators that a supervisor told him he needed to falsify his logbooks to get paid.

“W6 recalled a specific occasion when his paycheck was not direct-deposited into his bank account,” the affidavit states. “One or two days later, he received a letter from BBT management at his residence which stated he needed to falsify [his logbook] in order to be paid.”

The witness also reported that after he was involved in a crash, he called a supervisor and “told him he was over hours,” the affidavit states. “[Supervisor four] instructed him to falsify his logbook.”

Other witnesses noted they kept two logbooks with them on trips. One logbook showed the actual time driven; the other logbook, which was handed into BBT, was falsified.

Based on the witnesses’ allegations, federal agents searched the business Tuesday, hauling out more than 100 boxes of documents, including employee records, fuel logs, payroll records, bank statements and tax records.
Prior Problems

This isn’t the first time Beam Brothers Trucking has caught the attention of federal authorities.

In February 2003, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a civil penalty of $22,670 after it found five violations during a routine compliance review. The agency accused the company of allowing drivers to drive more than the allowed time under federal law.

The company later settled and agreed to pay $20,000.

And in February 2010, the FMCSA found 23 similar violations against the company and issued a $31,480 fine. BBT eventually paid $25,000 in that case.

The company also was told to make sure violations of this type did not happen again.

“FMCSA instructed BBT to ensure that all drivers’ records of duty status (logbooks) are accurate, check them against supporting documents to verify accuracy, prohibit falsification of logs by any driver, review the rules on supporting documents and take appropriate action against drivers who falsify logs,” the affidavit states.

To read a copy of  affidavit: uploads/files/bbt1.pdf  uploads/files/bbt2.pdf

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or pdelea@dnronline.com

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