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CDL school owner sentenced for bribing examiner to pass unqualified students

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The former owner of a Philadelphia CDL school was sentenced to prison for a scheme to help pass students who did not pass or did not even take their CDL tests.

Vladimir Tsymbalenko, 53, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $5,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Tsymbalenko is the former owner of Vlad’s CDL School in Philadelphia.

In October 2023, Tsymbalenko had pleaded guilty to one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of witness tampering.

Officials say that Tsymbalenko bribed a CDL examiner to pass some students who failed or did not take their CDL tests, and that he also asked a witness to lie.

“The last thing anyone should want on our roads are people behind the wheel of big rigs or school buses with bogus CDL certifications,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Licensure standards are intended to ensure that someone has the training and skills needed to safely move these huge vehicles and their cargo — human or otherwise — from Point A to Point B. As Tsymbalenko’s nearly five-year prison sentence shows, my office and our partners will work to hold accountable anyone seeking to evade such critical government regulations.”

“This sentencing of Vladimir Tsymbalenko demonstrates the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General’s (DOT-OIG) commitment to pursuing individuals in the motor carrier industry who are willing to compromise the safety of the traveling public for personal gain,” stated Christopher A. Scharf, Regional Special Agent in Charge for DOT-OIG. “Working with our agency, law enforcement, and prosecutorial partners, we remain focused in our efforts to prevent, detect, and prosecute fraud schemes that compromise the integrity of DOT’s safety programs.”

“Corruption and fraud, at any level, is not tolerated, especially for licensing standards designed to keep our community safe,” said Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Philadelphia. “The FBI will continue to work alongside our federal, state and local partners to pursue those who orchestrate these fraudulent schemes which undermine the integrity of these licenses.”

The case was investigated by the FBI and the DOT-OIG with assistance from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania State Police.

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