Owner of East Alabama truck driving school charged with bribery, wire fraud

Owner of truck driving school in Lee County charged with bribery and wire fraud

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - One local man is facing years of jail time after authorities say he bribed CDL examiners to perform illegal services for his truck driving school.

72-year-old James Welburn, a resident of Columbus, was arrested after being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, bribery, and wire fraud offenses.

Welburn is the owner of American Truck Driving Academy, located in Lee County, Alabama.

The indictment says that Welburn paid bribes to a commercial driver’s license (CDL) examiner in exchange for the examiner showing preferential treatment to his students during their exams.

Investigators say that in exchange for bribes, the examiner agreed to do things like test students even though they had not possessed their learner’s permits for at least 14 days, as required by federal regulations, or refrain from testing students on certain trucking maneuvers if the students were unlikely to be able to perform them.

If convicted of the most serious charges, Welburn faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each count. He also faces substantial monetary penalties and restitution.

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