26 October – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Barbara L. Barnet, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, Miami Investigations Office, Colonel Graham Fountain, Director of the State of Florida Department of Transportation, Office of Motor Carrier Compliance, announced today that on October 18, 2005, defendant, Jose M. Basto, 69, of Hialeah, a self-employed commercial motor vehicle safety inspector, engaged in performing annual safety inspections, including of flammable and hazardous materials transporters, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami, Florida. Basto is charged with ten (10) counts of making material false statements and representations pertaining to annual safety inspections required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 396, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001.
The Code of Federal Regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 396, requires that commercial motor vehicles undergo an annual safety inspection of the vehicles parts and accessories, including, but not limited to, braking systems, coupling devices, exhaust system, lights, steering, suspension, frame, tires, wheels and rims. Inspectors are required to prepare a detailed inspection report and certify the accuracy and completeness of the inspection in compliance with Section 396, and the motor carrier operator displays a decal signifying compliance with the annual inspection requirement. The charges against Basto arise from his activities in certifying that certain commercial motor vehicles had passed annual safety inspections, when in fact Basto had not performed any physical inspection of the vehicle, and had relied solely on registration documents. In addition, Basto failed to perform complete and proper inspections of commercial motor vehicles. While conducting his alleged illegal activities, Basto wore an official looking uniform and badge resembling those worn by the Florida Department of Transportation, Office of Motor Carrier Compliance.
If convicted of the False Statement charges, Basto faces up to five (5) years imprisonment as to each count and a $250,000 criminal fine.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the United States Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General and the State of Florida Department of Transportation, Office of Motor Carrier Compliance. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jose A. Bonau of the Economic and Environmental Crimes Section.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .