A federal grand jury indicted two local trucking company owners Wednesday for violation of U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.
Dorian Ayache, 65, of Lebanon, and Theresa Vincent, 53, of Murfreesboro, were indicted on multiple counts, according to acting U.S. attorney David Rivera for the Middle District of Tennessee.
The indictment charges Ayache with nine counts of violating DOT regulations, one count of conspiring to defraud the U.S., and two counts of obstructing a grand jury investigation. Vincent was charged with conspiring to defraud the U.S. and one count of perjury.
According to the indictment, Ayache was the owner and operator of Three Angels Farms, an interstate commercial motor carrier based in Lebanon, and Vincent was the owner and supposed operator of Terri’s Farm, an interstate commercial motor carrier based in Murfreesboro.
In June 2012, DOT officials deemed the operations of Three Angels Farms posed an imminent hazard to public safety and issued an order requiring Ayache to cease commercial motor vehicle operations.
The order was based on Ayache’s unacceptable safety practices, including his failure to adequately maintain his commercial motor vehicles and his failure to ensure drivers were qualified, and cited 2012 accidents on Interstate 40 and I-24 in Tennessee that resulted in fatal injuries to horses while in transport.
The indictment alleges Ayache violated the order and continued his commercial motor carrier operations under the name and authority of Terri’s Farm, as well as under other names. DOT later categorized Terri’s Farm as a mere continuation of Three Angels Farm.
The indictment also alleges Ayache concealed and attempted to destroy emails with the intent to impair their availability for use in the grand jury investigation, and Vincent made false statements under oath to a grand jury regarding her communications with Ayache during the investigation.
If convicted, Ayache faces up to 20 years in prison on each obstruction charge, up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and up to one year in prison for each charge of violating DOT regulations. Vincent faces up to five years in prison on both the conspiracy count and the perjury charges, if convicted.
DOT’s inspector general’s office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. attorney William F. Abely is prosecuting.
An indictment is an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.