CASE UPDATE: Allegheny County School Student Transport Owner Pleads Guilty to Felonies
Defendant endangered welfare of children by hiring some drivers who were not licensed or drove with suspended licenses
HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced the owner of Three Rivers Transit has pleaded guilty to felony charges for improperly transporting school students, failing to perform background checks on his drivers, and endangering their welfare.
Martin Betchy, 36, of James Street, McKeesport was charged with theft by deception, endangering welfare of children and insurance fraud. Betchy owned Three Rivers Transport, which was under contract with Propel Schools to transport school students. An investigation revealed the vehicles the transit company purchased were not properly insured and at times hired drivers who were not licensed or were driving with suspended licenses.
Betchy also failed to conduct or obtain child abuse and criminal record checks on his drivers – many of whom had criminal records. One of the drivers was in an accident with a student in the vehicle, and provided false information to the insurance company to try and obtain coverage for damages caused by the accident.
Betchy also fraudulently obtained insurance policies on vehicles used to transport students, stating they were for personal use only. Propel schools paid Betchy $2.4 million for his services.
“My office will hold anyone accountable who fails to properly protect children entrusted to their care,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Not only did Betchy endanger the welfare of children, but when people commit insurance fraud, they cause premiums to rise for everyone else who follow the rules. It’s wrong, and we’re taking action to stop it.”
The sentencing for this case is scheduled for June 28. This case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Kara Cotter.
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