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Florida man pleads guilty to CDL fraud

It may have seemed harmless enough on the outside - a truck driving school that was helping individuals, mainly Russian speakers, obtain a commercial driver's licenses (CDLs). The reality, however, was a scheme that amounted to fraud.

Through the company Larex Inc. and website, Adrian Salari and three other individuals charged thousands of dollars to obtain CDLs for non-Florida residents. In addition to falsifying residency documents, they also supplied students with answers to the driving test using covert communication equipment and used a partner on the inside to pass students who failed the tests, for an extra fee.

In all, the nefarious company helped more than 600 students to fraudulently obtain licensure from June 2013 to May 2015. Once those students obtained their CDLs, they would then transfer it to their actual state of residence.

In July 2015, indictment charges were filed against the suspects for conspiracy to aid and abet in the unlawful production of Florida driver's licenses and CDLs. The maximum penalty for these types of charges is up to 30 years in federal prison.

After pleading guilty on July 21, Mr. Salari now awaits sentencing, scheduled for October 3. Cases against the three others allegedly involved in the scheme, Ellariy Medvednik, Natalia Dontsova, Clarence Davis, have all be closed. Mr. Medvednik, who owned the trucking company and website, was sentenced to 12 months in prison and one year of supervised release. Ms. Dontsova was also sentenced to 10 months in prison and one year of supervised release. The case against Mr. Davis was dismissed.

The sentences imposed in Federal Court can be harsh as is seen in this case where the defendants could have gone to prison for 30 years. The sentences imposed in federal court depend on many factors including the role a person plays in the crime, the sentencing guidelines and the harm to the victims. Having an experienced lawyer in federal criminal defense is important when facing a prosecution by the United States Department of Justice.