CDL school operator sentenced to prison, fined for bribing examiner

Updated Apr 17, 2024
Judge's gavel

A Philadelphia CDL school operator has been sentenced to more than four and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to having bribed a CDL examiner. 

U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Vladimir Tsymbalenko, 53, the former owner of Vlad’s CDL School in Philadelphia, was sentenced to 57 months’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and a $5,000 fine. U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl sentenced Tsymbalenko for bribing a commercial driver’s license examiner to pass some of Tsymbalenko’s students who did not actually pass, or never even took, the CDL examination, and for asking a witness to lie.

On Oct. 11, 2023, Tsymbalenko pleaded guilty to one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of witness tampering.

“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 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.”