The owner of a Georgia trucking company, Devasko Dewayne Lewis, has been indicted for ignoring out-of-service orders and lying about his role in the company.
Lewis, 34, allegedly continued to operate Lewis Trucking after it was placed out of service, and hid his involvement by filing an application for authority under a different name.
If he is convicted he faces five years in jail and a $250,000 fine, said Michael Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, in a statement.
The prosecution reflects the increased authority obtained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in last year’s highway bill. That law gave the agency more legal tools to pursue “chameleon” carriers that disguise their identity in order to stay in business after being placed out of service.
The history in this case goes back to October 2008, when Lewis Trucking was involved in a fatal crash. FMCSA did a compliance review after the crash and found safety serious violations, the indictment says.
The agency determined that Lewis Trucking was an imminent hazard, and placed it out of service. That order remains in effect.
Then in July 2011, Devasko Lewis formed DDL Transport, which he operated under a Department of Transportation permit issued to another carrier he had formed, DL Transport, the affidavit says.
That September, after five roadside inspections, DDL Transport also was placed out of service.
The indictment lists two counts of false statements by Devasko Lewis. In forms submitted to the agency, Lewis allegedly obscured his ownership of yet another company, Eagle Transport.
Lewis and several other men also are charged with conspiracy to violate the out-of-service orders by obtaining DOT numbers without revealing Devasko Lewis’s association with the companies.
This is the second time Lewis has been indicted on similar charges. In November 2011, he was charged with false statements and continuing to operate after being placed out-of-service. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. He currently is on supervised release, said Pamela Lightsey, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Attempts to reach Devasko Lewis for comments were not successful.