Gerald Surya, M.D., pleaded guilty to falsely certifying physical examinations for commercial drivers on October 21. Specifically, Dr. Surya certified that he had examined applicants for commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and found them physically fit to drive heavy commercial vehicles when in fact he had not performed those examinations. When sentenced, Surya faces up to 15 years in prison.
The guilty plea was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Douglas Shoemaker, Regional Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General (USDOT-OIG).
As set forth in court filings and facts presented at the guilty plea proceeding, drivers of certain commercial vehicles, such as school buses and heavy transportation trucks, must possess a CDL issued by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) pursuant to regulations set forth by the United States Department of
Transportation (USDOT). Before obtaining a CDL, all applicants must pass written and road tests related to safely driving such large vehicles.
In addition, the applicants must be examined and certified fit to drive those vehicles by a physician or other qualified medical personnel authorized by the USDOT to conduct such examinations. Upon receipt of the certification, the applicant must file a copy with the DMV. Further, on a monthly basis, USDOT-certified medical examiners are required to electronically transmit to USDOT copies of certifications they have executed for CDL applicants.
Dr. Surya was authorized to conduct USDOT mandated medical examinations and certifications for CDL applicants and purportedly performed such examinations at his office located at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York. In fact, the applicants were not examined by Dr. Surya, but instead by other office staff
members who had little or no medical training and were not authorized to conduct the mandated medical examinations. The guilty plea took place before United States District Judge LeShann DeArcy Hall. The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States Attorney Michael H. Warren is in charge of the prosecution.