Picture credit - KSTP - TV

A Georgia doctor was convicted for falsifying medical safety examinations for commercial drivers and has been sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen on Wednesday sentenced Dr. Mark Griffis, 61, of Eastman, Ga., to 30 months in prison for conspiring to falsify Department of Transportation-mandated medical exams for drivers who hold commercial licenses, announced Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

Griffis was convicted after a three-day jury trial in June. Judge Bowen also fined Griffis $6,000, and ordered him to serve three years of federally supervised release after he completes his prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Jo Carol White, a DOT-approved drug and alcohol screener, paid Griffis to falsely certify medical exam forms at $50 each without actually examining the driver. This scheme allowed 271 drivers to renew their commercial driver licenses without undergoing the appropriate medical exams to assure their fitness to drive. Earlier this year, White was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for her role in the conspiracy.

“Motorists expect and deserve the highest standards of safety from commercial drivers who make a living transporting goods on our taxpayer-funded roadways,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “Griffis violated the duties of his profession and made our highways more dangerous for no reason other than pure greed.”

“The sentencing of Dr. Mark Griffis demonstrates the commitment of the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) to pursuing fraudulent activities by medical professionals in the motor carrier industry who are willing to compromise the safety of the traveling public for personal gain,” stated Todd Damiani, Regional Special Agent-In-Charge, DOT-OIG. “Working with our departmental, law enforcement and prosecutorial partners, we will continue our vigorous efforts to prevent, detect and prosecute fraud schemes that compromise the integrity of DOT’s safety programs.”

DOT-OIG Special Agent Sara Oliver led the investigation of Griffis. She was assisted by investigators of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Georgia Department of Driver Services also provided assistance.

Assistant United States Attorney Karl Knoche prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

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