Nov. 23–A second man has been charged in connection with an alleged bribery scheme involving state troopers and a Dallas trucking company, according to federal court documents.
Orlinte Cruz, 40, the owner of a Dallas trucking company, was charged with honest services wire fraud on Nov. 16 for allegedly bribing a former Texas Department of Public Safety sergeant, Kevin Gerard Cauley, to sidestep truck inspections, court records show.
Cruz, of Dallas, paid Cauley at least $20,000 so his fleet would pass state inspection, according to the charging documents.
Cauley, 51, of Royse City, was a commercial vehicle enforcement officer for DPS who conducted safety inspections of large trucks, court records show. He could not be reached for comment, and his attorney did not respond to requests for an interview.
Cruz’s attorney declined to comment.
Cauley was charged with honest services wire fraud in April. He pleaded guilty to the charge in June, court records show. A sentencing date has not yet been set. A second trooper was involved but hasn’t been charged.
Cauley took the money from Cruz, owner of Cruz and Sons Transportation, in exchange for inspection decals he issued for more than three dozen freight trucks, according to court documents.
Cauley indicated in reports that he inspected some of the trucks with another trooper when he actually inspected them alone, court records show. He also claimed in reports that some of the inspections were done roadside when they actually occurred at one of the trucking businesses, according to court records.
The charging document says an unidentified trooper, referred to as R.B., took part in the scheme. It’s unclear whether the trooper, who worked in the agency’s commercial vehicle enforcement unit, is a witness or a future defendant in the case.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Dallas said in court documents that Cauley took payments from Cruz “in exchange for favorable official action” through “corrupt means.” The scheme took place from July 2014 to September 2015, prosecutors said.
DPS officials did not provide information about Cauley’s work history at the state agency in response to a request.
Cauley claimed to have performed the highest level of inspections — known as Level 1 — on the trucks, which must be performed by two troopers, federal court records show.
Decals are given to trucks that pass the Level 1 inspection. The stickers notify authorities across the U.S. as well as in Mexico and Canada that the truck passed an inspection, reducing the chances of the truck receiving safety violations, prosecutors said.
Commercial vehicle companies with fewer violations receive higher safety ratings, which reduces their insurance premiums, court documents said.
Cruz, who also uses the name Giovanni, started Cruz and Sons Transportation in April 2013, according to state corporation records. He also owns UGMA Logistics, another commercial trucking company, according to federal court records.
Cruz and Sons’ website said it employed about 15 truckers and that “safety is our biggest concern.” The website also says the company’s safety records “are remarkable and illustrate” why it’s “regarded as one of the nation’s finest.”
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