Trucking company owners plead guilty to PPP loan fraud

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, June 27, 2022:

Trucking company owners plead guilty to PPP loan fraud

Semsi Salja and Anes Suhonjic, owners of 47 trucks, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based trucking company DMR Transportation, pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this month to conspiracy to commit bank fraud on a $290,855 loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

In a related civil case, DMR, Salja and Suhonjic agreed to pay a total of $1 million including a substantial civil penalty under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) .

In 2020, Congress enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act) to provide emergency federal assistance for the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the PPP, the CARES Act authorized repayable loans to small businesses for maintaining employment and certain other expenses.

In its second PPP loan application, the Department of Justice said DMR knowingly and falsely certified that it had achieved the required 25% reduction in gross revenue between the second fiscal quarter of 2019 and the second fiscal quarter of 2020. DMR allegedly also submitted falsified documents. quarterly balance sheets and other false financial documents that were signed by Salja and Suhonjic along with the request.

In September 2021, DMR requested the cancellation of its second-draw PPP loan by falsely certifying that the proceeds of its second-draw PPP loan had been used to pay for eligible business expenses when, in fact, DMR held that money. in reserve, the DOJ added.

“The PPP involved a limited pool of funds to help small businesses ravaged by the disruption of a global pandemic,” said U.S. attorney Mark Totten. “By fraudulently obtaining a second PPP loan, DMR grabbed hundreds of thousands of dollars that could have been used to help deserving businesses. My office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute these cases.

Salja and Suhonjic face a maximum of five years in prison.

Navistar issues recall on Sheppard steering gears

Navistar is recalling more than 33,000 vehicles affected by the steering gear recall from Bendix subsidiary RH Sheppard, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Navistar’s recall affects approximately 33,655 model year 2022-2023 International HX, HV, LoneStar, LT, MV, RH, IC TC Commercial Bus and 2022 International WorkStar vehicles. The steering boxes may have been assembled incorrectly, which can cause the box to break.

Dealers will inspect steering gear serial numbers and replace steering gears if necessary, free of charge. Notification letters to owners are expected to be mailed on August 18. Owners can contact Navistar Customer Service at 1-800-448-7825 with the callback number 22513. The NHTSA recall number is 22V-428.

Kentucky/Indiana Bridge tolls jump 8%

New toll rates for three bridges connecting Louisville and southern Indiana will begin Friday, July 1. Tariffs for trucks with five or more axles will increase by more than 8%.

RiverLink, which administers tolls, says drivers with prepaid accounts in good standing and transponders pay the lowest toll rates and save more than $2 per crossing. Fares for trucks with prepaid accounts and transponders will increase from $11.04 to $11.98, while fares for trucks paying by mail/plate will increase from $13.26 to $14.38.

Toll revenues are used to meet the financial obligations of the Ohio River Bridges Project and to pay for the operations and maintenance of bridges and roads in the project area.

The toll is in place on the I-65 Abraham Lincoln Bridge, the I-65 Kennedy Bridge, and the SR 265/KY 841 Lewis and Clark Bridge connecting Prospect, Kentucky, and Utica, Indiana.

Toll rates increase annually by 2.5% unless the rate of inflation (as measured by the consumer price index) is higher. The April 2022 CPI used to calculate the increase was 8.3%.

Additionally, the new rates include a 0.1% adjustment that should have been reflected in the July 2021 rate increase. RiverLink says the adjustment was necessary because last year’s rate increase was calculated using the baseline of 2.5% rather than the March 2021 CPI of 2.6%.

The Bridge Toll, a bi-state effort between Indiana and Kentucky, began on December 30, 2016.