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Ex-trucking safety manager gets probation in cargo tank repair scheme

The former safety manager of two California trucking companies was sentenced to three years of probation for his role in an illegal cargo tank repair conspiracy.

U.S. Senior District Judge Virginia A. Phillips also ordered Donald Spicer, 71, of Fullerton, California, to pay a $10,000 file and $100 special assessment fee and complete 1,000 hours of community service.

Spicer pleaded guilty in August 2021 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to conspiracy in connection with a scheme to conduct illegal repairs on cargo tanks, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General stated in a news release on Thursday.

Spicer worked for National Distribution Services Inc. (NDSI), which was involved in a federal investigation into an illegal repair of an oil tanker that resulted in a fatal explosion in 2014 that left one man dead and another welder critically injured, before going to work for another tank welding company, Wholesale Distribution Inc. (WDI).

In November, Spicer’s former boss, Carl Bradley Johansson, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for several federal crimes, including the one that resulted in the truck explosion that killed the welder, tax evasion and fraudulently obtaining more than $950,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan funds.

According to the U.S. attorney, Johansson owned NDSI, which was in operation between 2009 and 2015, and its successor company, WDI, which did business as Quality Services. Both businesses were based in Corona, California.

“NDSI operated as a cargo tank repair company contracted to repair hazardous material tankers,” the DOT release states. “However, the company was not registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to conduct such repairs.”

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