Newport Beach trucking company owner pleads guilty to illegal repairs that killed man, other counts
A 63-year-old man who owns multiple trucking companies in Newport Beach has pleaded guilty to ordering illegal repairs that killed an employee, in addition to tax evasion and the fraudulent use of tax relief. COVID-19 pandemic while on bail, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Carl Bradley Johansson of Newport Beach pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles, according to the US attorney’s office.
Johansson has already served a 15-month federal prison sentence after a welder who worked for him died in an oil tanker explosion in 1993, prosecutors said. He created one of his Corona-based companies, National Distribution Services Inc., which operated from 2009 to 2015, but then formed Wholesale Distribution Inc. after two more welding explosions at NDSI in 2012 and 2014 in order to be able to continue to operate cargo tanks. , prosecutors said.
His company was not certified to perform in-house welding repairs on its cargo tanks, but he and his co-defendant Enrique Garcia, 46, from Pomona, who was Johansson’s shop manager, assigned two welders to repair a cargo tank on May 5, 2014. The tank they were working on had not been cleaned of fumes and crude oil, so it exploded the next day and killed one of the company’s employees. Another was seriously injured.
Johansson also admitted that from May 2014 to April 2018, he conspired to foil a federal investigation into the May 6, 2014 explosion, lying about illegal weld repairs.
In August 2014, he was ordered to stop using around 37 cargo tanks because a federal agency deemed them unsafe, but he still continued to use them to transport gas and ethanol.
He then converted NDSI to WDI to bypass the order to stop using the cargo tanks. He also failed to file income tax returns from 2012 to 2017 to evade conspiracy detection and failed to report $ 1.1 million in income and instead used the money to pay for personal expenses like renting. a house in Corona for $ 12,000 a month and to pay for her children’s school fees.
Johansson did not pay $ 298,562 in federal income taxes.
While on bail in the tanker case, he received a loan from the COVID-19 Relief Paycheck Protection Program last year of $ 436,390. Instead of using the money to keep his workers on staff, he laid off most of them but rehired many at the end of last year. He moved around 21 employees among his companies to make it look like he was keeping workers on the payroll.
He did the same with another $ 231,527 PPP loan in March of this year. In total, the loss in pandemic relief was $ 667,917.
The companies, Western Distribution LLC, WDI and NDSI, also pleaded guilty on Wednesday, prosecutors said.
Another co-accused, Donald Cameron Spicer, 69, of Fullerton, who worked as a safety officer for Johansson’s companies, pleaded guilty on August 16 to illegal repairs to cargo tanks and defrauding the Federal Department of transport and is expected to be sentenced on February 16. 14.
Garcia is due to go on trial on January 18.
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