PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The owners of two Rhode Island trucking companies were indicted by a federal grand jury in Providence Wednesday, accused of falsifying federally mandated safety inspection reports.
Leslie and Robert Cucino, the owners of CDE Corporation and Winsor Hill Hauling and Recycling Corporation, were both indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy and false statements to the government.
The married couple is accused of forcing their truck drivers to falsify daily safety reports, which allowed trucks in need of repair to drive on local roads in Rhode Island and Massachusetts with safety defects.
The trucks were hauling tons of scrap metal to locations including Providence and Boston, according to the US Attorney’s office.
Federal regulations require truck drivers to fill out Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) every day to certify that brakes, wheels and other parts are in working order.
The indictment alleges the Cucinos were “…directing and encouraging employee drivers under threat of termination, to falsely certify that the commercial motor vehicles they were operating had “no defect” on their DVIR when in fact the driver knew that the vehicles had serious safety defects that were required to be reported.”
This had been going on since 2009, the indictment alleges. It also says that some trucks received citations of safety violations from the Massachusetts and Rhode Island State Police, yet drivers still claimed there were no defects on the reports.
An arraignment date for the Cucino’s has not yet been set. Separate attorneys for the two defendants did not return phone calls and emails seeking comment.
A man at the trucking company, located on Green Hill Road and now operating under a new name, swore and threatened to call the police when approached by Eyewitness News for comment. The man declined to identify himself.
Chris Maxwell, the president of the Rhode Island Trucking Association, said the company is not a member of that organization.
“Our industry spends over $7 billion in safety nationally,” Maxwell said in an email. “The entity that is the subject of these allegations is not a member of RITA and does not represent our core values related to vehicle and driver compliance.”