Beam Brothers Pleads Guilty to Lesser Charges in Plea Bargain
By Jared Kline
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Beam Brothers Trucking and executives with the company struck a deal with prosecutors Tuesday, May 16, pleading guilty to lesser charges.
Owners Gerald and Garland Beam, along with Shaun Beam and Nickolas Kozel, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, to knowingly violate the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) highway safety regulations.
The company, however, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, that is falsification of records in contemplation of a federal matter. Beam Brothers Holding, the parent company of Beam Brothers Trucking, also pled guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
In return, Obenshain said the government agreed to drop the 126 felony counts of alleged wrongdoing.
As part of the plea agreement, Beam Brothers agreed to pay a fine of $250,000 and forfeit $2,000,000 of fraudulently obtained proceeds. Beam Brothers will also pay approximately $1,000,000 in restitution to drivers who were defrauded of their pay.
"Today's plea agreement ends a seven year nightmare for these men and the company they built," a statement from Obenshain released Tuesday afternoon read. "We have and continue to maintain that this case illustrated government overreach of the highest order that destroyed a local family owned business."
According to Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen J. Pfleger and Christopher Kavanaugh, between 1999 and 2017, Beam Brothers Trucking knowingly violated the FMCSA safety regulations by encouraging, permitting, causing or requiring drivers for Beam Brothers Trucking to make trips in violation of federal safety regulations designed to prevent commercial motor vehicle crashes caused by fatigued drivers.
Among the violations of regulations that U.S. attorneys documented were:
Falsely recording their duty statuses; encouraging and permitting some Beam Brothers Trucking commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers to falsify their time sheets to report fewer hours worked than they actually worked; telling some Beam Brothers Trucking CMV drivers that they would not be paid for short rest periods, for time waiting for their trailers to be loaded or unloaded at postal facilities; failing to inform some Beam Brothers Trucking CMV drivers of pay requirements of the mail contracts; failing to review and consider some Beam Brothers Trucking CMV drivers’ request for additional pay and failing to pay some Beam Brothers Trucking CMV drivers as required under the federal Service Contract Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and the mail contracts.
In mid-April, Eagle Express Lines agreed to take over contracts for the Mount Crawford company.
"We are immensely grateful for the prayers and expressions of support and friendship that we have received from so many of our friends and employees," said Gerald and Garland Beam.
Beam Brothers were set to head to trial in early June after a federal grand jury indicted the company and its executives over allegedly incorrectly recording when driver's were on and off the clock.
Courtesy of: whsv.com
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