Falsely certifying commercial truck driver medical exams is as much a serious offense under federal law as it is a threat to public safety. A central Alabama chiropractor and two of his employees are learning this lesson the hard way, federal authorities say.
According to the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Alabama, Louis V. Franklin, Dr. Kenneth G. Edwards, who resides in Columbus, Georgia, and operates a chiropractic clinic in Phenix City, was arrested Feb. 20 along with two of his employees, Joann Bush and Andrea Daigle. A federal grand jury charged the three on multiple fraud counts relating to medical certifications federal regulators require for all commercial truck drivers.
Dr. Edwards’ website shows that his clinic offers several occupational and industrial health services, including Department of Transportation medical certifications for holders of commercial truck driver licenses. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires prospective commercial truck drivers to be medically certified before obtaining a CDL. Truck drivers who already hold a CDL are required to undergo medical certification every two years.
The indictment alleges that Dr. Edwards and his employees engaged in a scheme to falsify documents relating to the physical exams of truck drivers and prospective truck drivers that were conducted at his chiropractic office.
“Dr. Edwards and his staff did not perform physicals that were up to USDOT standards. They would then send forms to the USDOT that falsely certified the truck drivers had passed all of the USDOT physical exam requirements,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
All three defendants face conspiracy, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges. Additionally, Dr. Edwards and Ms. Bush are charged with making false statements and falsification of federal records.
If convicted of the most serious charges, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison without the possibility of parole. They may also face substantial monetary penalties and restitution.