The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced a Tennessee woman has been sentenced for defrauding the DOT.
United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose sentenced Elizabeth “Betsy” Pope, 49, of Loudon, TN to serve four years of probation of eight months of home detention for committing mail fraud.
Pope assisted carriers with compliance and testing of their drivers and managed their compliance with the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Program, which requires pre-employment and random testing.
Pope managed the the drug and alcohol compliance for InTransit, LLC and coordinated the testing with Eastgate Laboratory Testing to administer the DOT drug and alcohol testing.
“DOT regulations require that a percentage of negative tests and all positive drug or alcohol tests must be reviewed by a licensed doctor, known under the DOT regulations as a Medical Review Officer (MRO), to oversee the program and determine if there were any innocent reasons why a test was positive. On all FMCSA and DOT required paperwork Pope, without authority or permission, used a computer generated signature of a doctor who had previously worked for her as an MRO for a short time predating the charges in the indictment to create the impression that he had done the necessary oversight and reviews when he had not,” a press release from the Western District of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to the press release, the fraud “came to light” when an 18-year veteran driver tried to contact the MRO after his pre-employment drug test came back as “diluted” for three tests in a row. The truck driver was unable to get the MRO’s contact number from Pope, so he searched for the MRO on the internet, found his contact info and contacted the doctor.
The MRO then contacted InTransit to report that his name was being used without this authorization. In turn, InTransit did an internal investigation and referred the case to the Inspector General for the DOT.
“Pope billed InTransit as though her company had actually performed the required services, causing InTransit to send her checks totaling approximately $109,000,” the press release states.