The owners of two trucking companies the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered shut down last year have been indicted on federal charges after failing to comply.
Dorian Ayache of Lebanon, Tenn. and Theresa Vincent of Murfreesboro, Tenn. were indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on charges related to the violation of U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. It charges Ayache with nine counts of violating DOT regulations, one count of conspiring to defraud the United States, and two counts of obstructing a grand jury investigation. Vincent was charged with conspiring to defraud the United States and with one count of perjury, according to David Rivera, acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Ayache was the owner and operator of Three Angels Farms, an interstate carrier based in Lebanon, Tenn., and Vincent was the owner and supposed operator of Terri’s Farm, an interstate carrier based in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
In June 2012 the FMCSA said the operations of Three Angels Farms posed an imminent hazard to public safety and issued an order requiring Ayache to cease commercial motor vehicle operations. DOT’s order was based on Ayache’s unacceptable safety practices, including his failure to adequately maintain his commercial motor vehicles and his failure to ensure that drivers were qualified, and cited 2012 accidents on I-40 and I-24 in Tennessee that resulted in fatal injuries to horses being transported.
The indictment alleges that in violation of this order, Ayache continued his commercial motor carrier operations under the name and authority of Terri’s Farm, as well as under other names. DOT in September 2012 categorized Terri’s Farm as a reincarnated carrier of Three Angels Farm and ordered it to close.
It also claims that Ayache concealed and attempted to destroy emails with the intent to impair their availability for use in the grand jury investigation and that Vincent made false statements under oath to a grand jury regarding her communications with Dorian Ayache during the investigation.
If convicted, Ayache faces up to 20 years in prison on each obstruction charge, up to 5 years in prison on the conspiracy charge, and up to 1 year in prison for each charge of violating DOT regulations. Vincent faces up to 5 years in prison on both the conspiracy count and the perjury charges, if convicted.