EAST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The owners of New Jersey school bus company have been accused of putting children in danger.
The accusations from the state include operating unsafe buses and failing to run criminal background checks on drivers, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported Thursday.
Yellow school buses once full of children now sit empty with “out of service” stickers on the windshield in a lot on Evergreen Place in East Orange.
The owners of F&A Transportation Inc. are charged with allegedly providing false information to school districts to cover up the fact that the company hired unqualified drivers who did not hold valid commercial driver’s licenses or required license endorsements, as well as drivers who had criminal histories or were using illegal drugs.
They also allegedly falsified vehicle inspection forms.
The state attorney general said this relates to contracts from 2015-2020 transporting children in in Essex, Passaic, Morris and Union counties.
In February 2019, an employee of F&A allegedly used heroin in the company’s parking lot in East Orange and then drove a school bus with 12 special needs children on board. While driving, the employee allegedly overdosed and crashed into a building.
When the Motor Vehicle Commission audited F&A’s driver files, it found that of the 51 drivers listed on the roster only nine files were complete.
Owners Ahmed Mahgoub, 62, and his wife, 47-year-old Faiza Ibrahim, of East Hanover were not home Thursday afternoon. A housekeeper told Gainer they were working.
The AG’s office notes it filed similar charges in June 2020 against a Paterson-based school bus company, A-1 Elegant Tours Inc.
That’s two school bus companies in New Jersey charged in just the last four months.
The F&A owners are charged with conspiracy, theft by deception, false representation for a government contract, and tampering with public records.
They’re facing fines and prison time.
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