LOS ANGELES – The owner of several Inland Empire-based trucking companies has pleaded guilty to five felony charges, admitting he engaged in an array of criminal conduct, including:

  • ordering the illegal repair of a tanker that resulted in an explosion and the death of one his employees;
  • committing tax evasion, which included failing to file income tax returns for six years; and
  • fraudulently obtaining more than $667,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) COVID-19 pandemic relief funds while on bond awaiting trial.

          Carl Bradley Johansson, 63, of Newport Beach, pleaded guilty late Wednesday to two felony counts in relation to the tank explosion – one count of conspiring to make illegal repairs on the cargo tanks and to defraud the United States Department of Transportation, and one count of welding without required certifications.

          Johansson also pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of bank fraud. Johansson admitted that he committed the bank fraud offenses stemming from the PPP scam while he was on pretrial release in the gasoline tanker explosion case.

          The Tanker Explosion Case

          Johansson controlled and operated two Corona-based trucking companies: National Distribution Services, Inc. (NDSI), which operated from about 2009 through 2015, and NDSI’s successor company, Wholesale Distribution, Inc. (WDI),…

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