Six Charged in Dirty DMV Scheme

     SACRAMENTO (CN) – Trucking schools bribed California DMV workers to get at least 100 commercial licenses for drivers who did not take or pass the tests, federal prosecutors say in a 17-count criminal indictment.
     Three DMV employees are accused of taking the bribes and owners of three trucking schools are charged with offering them, in the sealed indictment filed on Aug. 6. Another driving school owner and a DMV official pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy and bribery charges.
     The U.S. attorney said the corruption endangered public safety. Some of the licenses allowed unqualified drivers to transport hazardous materials.
     Driving school owners paid bribes of up to $5,000 apiece for more than 100 commercial licenses, and DMV workers changed computer records to show the drivers had passed written and behind-the-wheel tests, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said.
     He warned that the defendants “must not expect leniency from the justice system.”
     The scheme lasted from June 2011 until March this year, said Tatum King, acting agent in charge of San Francisco Homeland Security Investigations.
     “The implications of putting untrained drivers behind the wheel in such cases are frankly chilling,” King said.
     Salinas DMV employee Emma Klem, 45, and trucking school owner Kulwinder Dosanjh Singh, 58, of Turlock, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to commit bribery and identity fraud, Wagner said.
     Then indictment, unsealed Friday, charges trucking school owners Pavitar Dosangh Singh and Mangal Gill and DMV examiners Andrew Kimura and Robert Turchin with conspiracy, bribery, and fraud.
     DMV Chief Investigator Frank Alvarez said the DMV has canceled or revoked more than 600 licenses that “appear to have been obtained through fraudulent means.”
     Up to 23 traffic accidents, none of which were fatal, could be related to the fraud, he said.
     This is the latest in a series of DMV scandals in California.
     In February, a former San Diego DMV official pleaded guilty to taking bribes to set aside license suspensions and provide unauthorized temporary licenses to drivers who had been arrested on DUI charges.
     An employee at the DMV’s Westminster office was arrested in March on charges of taking bribes for driver’s licenses, and a CHP officer was charged in June with taking bribes in a scheme at the El Cajon DMV office.
     Five DMV employees in El Cajon and Rancho San Diego offices were convicted last year in a bribery conspiracy that provided licenses to clients of a local driving school.

%d bloggers like this: