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SAN FRANCISCO - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in its ongoing efforts on consumer protection, has recently taken a number of actions against illegally operating passenger carriers. During the second quarter of 2012, the CPUC took the following enforcement actions against limousine, bus, and shuttle companies for violations of the Public Utilities Code and CPUC rules and regulations, including General Orders (GO) 115-F and 157-D.
Ten companies were cited and fined a total of $28,500 for one or more of these violations:
- Advertised a revoked permit number
- Engaged employees without procuring evidence of workers' compensation insurance
- Failed to enroll and/or pre-employment test drivers in a mandatory drug and alcohol program
- Failed to enroll drivers in DMV Pull Notice program
- General Order 157-D violation (failed to maintain a current equipment list, no sub-carrier agreement, or incomplete waybills)
- Operated without a valid authority (suspended or unlicensed)
- Operated vehicles that are not insured at the required minimum level of public liability and property damage insurance
- Failed to properly report gross revenue earned
- Illegal display of charter-party carrier identification
- Failing to respond to consumer complaints
- George H. Bateman III dba Best One Limousine and Airport Services, Corona (TCP 19128)
- Think Escape, LLC, Fremont, (TCP 23682)
- Sacramento Transportation Systems, Inc., Sacramento (PSC 15260)
- Ulises Ramirez dba Imperial Valley Tours, Holtsville (TCP 16851)
- James Burns, et al, A General Partnership, Palm Springs (TCP 11265)
- Ace Xpress Charter, Inc. Dba Ace Tour, San Francisco (TCP 23281
- Leyd Anorve dba American Luxury Limousine, Corona (TCP 26827)
- Steve Bauer dba Street Scene Limousine LLC, Sherman Oaks (Unlicensed)
- Bhupinder Kaur Sahni Dba Stockton Airporter, Stockton (TCP 23694)
- Good Earth Limo, Inc. dba Euro Limo, Santa Monica (TCP 27041)
The CPUC filed a criminal case on the following three companies:
Complaint #226552, Capitol West Insurance Services Corporation, El Monte: The CPUC filed a complaint with the Department of Insurance, Investigation Division, alleging that insurance brokerage Capitol West was underwriting its own insurance filings to the CPUC that were not backed by a policy issued by an insurance company. The Department of Insurance conducted its investigation as to the insurance business practices of Capitol West. On February 17, 2012, the Department of Insurance's Fraud Investigator filed criminal charges against the president, Ilyas Afzali, and there was an arrest warrant with bail set at $50,000. On June 1, 2012, Afzali pled guilty to violation of 529.5(c) PC. Afzali was placed on summary probation for a period of 2 years under the following conditions: pay a fine, penalty fund assessment, attorney fees, etc., totaling $2,114 and ordered to perform and complete 15 days of tree farm or Caltrans.
Complaint #M148648CF, Insight Limo, Inc., San Diego (TCP 26201-Revoked): The San Diego City Attorney's Office filed a misdemeanor against this company for operating after permit suspension.
Complaint #WC2011-0247, Estrella de Oro, Los Angeles (PSG 27987-Denied), Case PSG 3006: The CPUC asked the San Diego District Attorney's Office to file a misdemeanor against this company for operating without a valid authority and workers compensation violations.
As part of its ongoing efforts to clamp down on illegal passenger carriers, the CPUC had telephone service shut off to one charter party carrier operating in California without a household goods permit. This company continued to engage in the business of transporting passengers, notwithstanding CPUC directives to immediately cease and desist unlawful acts and to obtain a transportation charter party authority.
PSG-3292., Scott G. Scott dba Trail Discovery Safari Tours, Palm Springs (Unlicensed): This company advertised and offered transportation services on the Internet. The advertisement listed one telephone number. Notwithstanding the CPUC's Cease and Desist order directing the company to immediately cease all unlawful advertisements and operations, the company continued to violate the law. On May 31, 2012, the CPUC obtained a Finding of Probable Cause signed by a Riverside County Superior Court Judge. The Finding orders disconnection of telephone service to the telephone number advertised and used by the company to violate criminal laws in the State of California.
Enforcement Actions at Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA):
Number of citations issued by LAWA police (unlicensed operations only): 35
Number of of vehicles impounded: 19