Hey everyone! It’s time for your Thursday Daily Trucker News Update!

We have a lot of news to cover today, including:

  • A Sassy TikTok Driver
  • FMCSA’s warning on fraudulent or misleading marketing attempts
  • And a mini surprise for a big UPS fan

So, let’s get trucking!

Carlin: Two men in New Jersey have been arrested in connection to a scheme to fraudulently use debit cards to purchase diesel fuel to sell to truck drivers.

New Jersey residents Alateef Perry and Rajohn Dawkins were arrested on April 9 and charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud.

From July 2019 through March 2020, Perry and Dawkins fraudulently used Debit Cards in the names of other individuals, without the cardholders’ consent or knowledge, to purchase diesel fuel for commercial truck drivers in exchange for cash. If convicted, the two men could face up to five years in prison and a maximum potential fine of $250,000, or twice the amount of the crime violation, whichever is greater.

Niki: I know we have mentioned some rising stars on Tik Tok from time to time, but here is one who really has a growing following! Clarissa Rankin, 34, who owns her own Charlotte-based trucking business, and typically travels within a 250 mile radius into Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina. Wherever she goes, she brings her nearly 1 million followers on TikTok with her, sharing the ups and downs of the job, giving motivational pep talks, and taking questions from fans. She’s known as the Sassy Trucker on social media, and like others in this rapidly increasing transportation sisterhood, she loves to poke holes in dusty trucking stereotypes.

Carlin: A Utah man has pleaded guilty to paying $490,000 in bribes from 2012-2019 in to steer $24 million in business to trucking operations he founded. Hubert Ugarte, 52, of Draper, Utah, also earlier this month pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan for some of his other trucking companies. During the scheme, Ugarte’s companies received approximately $135 million in gross payments, resulting in net profits of approximately $24 million. As a result of his plea agreement, Ugarte forfeited to the federal government 14 of his companies, 35 trucks, more than $261,000 in bank accounts, six properties, four other vehicles, and $684,000 in currency seized from a company building at one of his residences.

Niki: The (FMCSA) issued a warning to truckers about predatory companies that pose as government agencies.

In a Facebook post last Friday, the FMCSA issued a reminder about fraudulent or misleading marketing attempts targeting motor carriers.

The agency wrote: FMCSA does not: Contact carriers by telemarketers or “robo-call’ automated telephone solicitations, nor do they request credit card numbers by telephone or charge a fee for downloadable U.S Government forms.

The FMCSA provides additional information about fraudulent or misleading marketing attempts on their website at fmcsa.dot.gov

Carlin: Infrastructure has been a reoccurring topic here lately. The Biden White House is amplifying the push for its $2.3 trillion infrastructure package with the release of state-by-state breakdowns that show the dire shape of roads, bridges, the power grid and housing affordability.

Drawn from an array of private and public data, the reports show there are 7,300 miles of highway in Michigan alone that are in poor condition. Damaged streets in North Carolina impose an average yearly cost of $500 on motorists. Iowa has 4,571 bridges in need of repair. There is a roughly 4-in-10 chance that a public transit vehicle in Indiana might be ready for the scrap yard. Pennsylvania’s schools are short $1.4 billion for maintenance and upgrades.

President Joe Biden was scheduled to meet Monday afternoon, April 12, with Republican and Democratic lawmakers and intends to use the state summaries to show that his plan would help meet the needs of their constituents.

Niki: Two-year-old Marco Elizondo of California received his own, mini UPS truck from the delivery drivers he waves to each day.

Elizondo was surprised with the gift in early March, though his love for the big, brown trucks started around Christmas when he’d see them drive by his California home. Elizondo and his mom have made it a morning routine to wave as the drivers leave for their daily routes. As a “thank you,” the workers created a special UPS truck for Elizondo. Now, Elizondo is having fun “delivering” his own, mini UPS boxes from his truck.

That does it for today’s update!

Tune in tomorrow for all the trucking news you need!

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