A 27-year-old Kuna, Idaho, man pleaded guilty July 24 to making thousands of false statements to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
According to the plea agreement, in August 2015, Aaron Hynes asked for help from computer programmers to create a computer program that would automatically fill out at least 10,000 applications for USDOT numbers on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.
Hynes intended to use fake names, addresses and telephone numbers of applicants and company officials. The FMCSA issues the Department of Transportation numbers to commercial motor carriers to track safety or other operational violations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office claimed Hynes intended to fraudulently obtain the numbers and sell them to motor carriers for a profit.
In October 2015, according to the plea agreement, Hynes submitted about 2,100 applications to the Motor Carrier Safety Administration website for DOT numbers, using names, addresses and telephone numbers of applicants and company officials that he knew were false. The fraudulent applications caused FMCSA to register the fictitious applicants and issue approximately 2,100 Department of Transportation numbers.
Hynes’ submission of the approximately 2,100 applications caused a loss of $51,389. The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated that $32,439 of this loss was attributable to the time and resources expended to identify and deactivate the 2,100 fraudulent numbers that it issued.
The remainder of the loss related to the implementation of preventative measures by the FMCSA.
Sentencing is set for Oct. 17 before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.
A violation of making false statements to a government agency is punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, a term of supervised release up to three years, and a $100 special assessment.