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This article was published 10/10/2018 (599 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg police have charged the owner of Precision Health Ltd. with fraud, after an investigation uncovered evidence drug and alcohol test results for Canadian truckers driving into the United States were fabricated for more than a year.
"Investigators learned the company did not properly test drivers samples according to mandated procedures. Test results were falsified and provided to drivers," Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Jay Murray said Wednesday.
Police started probing Precision’s practices in October 2017, after the laboratory testing industry brought the Winnipeg-based company to the authorities’ attention.
"The company continued to charge clients the full rate for their services and the practice continued unchecked until Sept. 6," Murray said.
Precision’s owner, 54-year-old Colleen Faye Robinson, was charged Sept. 6 with forgery and fraud over $5,000.
Police said their investigation showed a "significant number" of trucking companies and their drivers were victims of the alleged fraud.
Court documents cited in news reports Wednesday said the investigation involved 32 trucking companies that relied on Precision for driving certificates. More people may be charged as the case moves to court, the WPS said.
Robinson was previously convicted of fraud in 2011, in a case involving CN Rail -- an aspect of the investigation police said spoke to "the quality of oversight" in the testing industry.
The conviction involved conducting medical exams for CN from 2008 to 2010, and signing off on the exams with doctor’s name when a nurse had done the work, according to media reports. Robinson was ordered to pay $14,000 in restitution to the rail line, and subsequently lost her licensed practical nursing credentials.
For years, Precision shipped the urine samples it collected from drivers to a U.S. lab for testing, with no indication of a problem. A company in Barrie, Ont., collected the lab results and returned them to Precision, which then issued the certificates, according to reports.
In May 2017, the American lab suspended the Winnipeg company’s account for overdue bills.
Precision Health allegedly kept charging trucking companies anyway, police said. False certificates were allegedly issued to unsuspecting drivers who crossed the border into the United States believing they’d complied with stringent trucking regulations enforced by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Winnipeg police said they have informed the U.S. government of their findings, but said there’s no indication American authorities will seek penalties against the trucking companies nor their drivers.
One Manitoba trucking company owner said if any of his drivers had been involved in an accident and found impaired, he would have been on the hook with his insurance company, risking his business.
Dwight Barkman, owner of Whitemouth-based Barkman Transport, added he has drivers crossing the border on a regular basis.
"At the end of the day, it’s done. I’ve changed companies. We’re continuing on," he said by phone Wednesday.
The City of Winnipeg also used Precision’s services for more than a decade, including tests for Winnipeg Transit drivers. paying the company more than $3,000 since 2017 alone, a city spokesperson confirmed.
The city doesn’t conduct its own testing and, at the time, Precision was the only accredited company facilitating such testing in Winnipeg, the spokesperson said.
Paperwork police seized from Precision, according to court documents, showed testing for Transit drivers for the time period where tests weren’t done properly.
"The city was just made aware of these charges this morning, and are now looking into this further with our Occupational Health staff," a city spokesperson said Wednesday.
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Updated on Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 9:24 AM CDT: Removes extraneous word