FMC REVOKES AAA NORDSTARÆS OTI LICENSE
The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission has revoked the ocean transportation license of Rahway, N.J.-based AAA Nordstar Line Inc., which had committed fraud against the Defense Department.
AAA Nordstar, whose corporate officers included Anil V. Rane, president, and Maria E. Fabros, vice president, also operated an unlicensed entity, Great Eastern Shipping, which engaged in the transportation of military household goods under contracts with the Military Traffic Management Command from its Rahway office.
On July 26, the U.S. District Court for the New Jersey District found Rane guilty of two counts mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud against the federal government. Fabros was convicted for the same crime on Sept. 14.
According to court papers, Rane and Fabros, through Great Eastern Shipping, handled more than 350 single-shipment contracts for the Defense Department from September 1998 to June 2000. During that time, Rane and Fabros routinely overbilled MTMC and also falsified documents to make it appear that Great Eastern Shipping was using U.S.-flag vessels when the company was actually foreign-flag vessel transportation services. MTMC contracts require the use of U.S.-flag vessels.
Both Rane and Fabros were sentenced to jail time and extended court supervision upon their release. They also agreed to make financial restitution to the federal government of more than $4.32 million.
To hold an OTI license with the FMC, an operator must continuously maintain qualifications of integrity, good character, technical OTI expertise and financial responsibility. The FMC said that in the case of Rane and Fabros, revocation of AAA Nordstar’s OTI license is appropriate, because the commission “can no longer rely upon the honesty and integrity of the licensee.”
“The crimes of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud … constitute acts of moral turpitude reflecting directly upon the licensee’s continued fitness to conduct business as an OTI,” the FMC said.