According to the OIG, an employee with the California DMV repeatedly and without authorization accessed and altered database records to fraudulently indicate that commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) applicants had passed written exams when they had not.
An employee with the California Department of Motor Vehicles has pleaded guilty to being a co-conspirator in a scheme to illegally sell commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
On Dec. 14, DMV worker Donald Freeman and another man, Juan Arturo Arroyo Gomez pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, in Sacramento, Calif., to charges related to their role in a conspiracy to sell fraudulent CDLs.
Freeman worked as a motor vehicle representative in the DMV office in Tracy, Calif. His duties included processing Class A, Class B, and Class C CDLs and identification card applications.
Class A licenses are required to operate tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations, flatbed trucks and other vehicles with a gross combination weight of at least 26,000 pounds, including 10,000 pounds or more for the vehicle being towed. Class B licenses are required for a single vehicle weighing at least 26,000 pounds, and a Class C license is for drivers of vehicles that can either transport 16 or more passengers, or hazardous materials, such as tanker trucks.
From July 2016 through May 2017, Freeman repeatedly and without authorization accessed and altered DMV database records to fraudulently indicate that applicants had passed written examinations when they had not, according to the OIG. During that time, Arroyo Gomez paid Freeman for the fraudulent CDLs.
Freeman’s guilty pleas were the third in two months by a California DMV worker. On Nov. 3, two other workers plead guilty in U.S. District Court to charges related to their roles in a different conspiracy to sell Class A commercial driver’s licenses without the buyer having to take or pass the required tests.
In exchange for money, Kari Scattaglia and Lisa Terraciano, each of whom worked at Los Angeles area DMV offices, accessed the DMV’s database in Sacramento and altered the records of applicants to fraudulently show that they passed the required written tests, when in fact, the applicants had not passed or, at times, even taken the written tests.
This caused the DMV to issue permits to those drivers as well as completed CDLs to applicants who supposedly passed behind-the-wheel driving tests. However, Scattaglia also fraudulently altered records in the DMV database to show they had passed the driving tests when they had not.
The investigation determined that Terraciano caused at least 148 fraudulent CDLs, including permits, to be issued, and Scattaglia caused at least 68 fraudulent CDLs, including permits, to be issued.
The OIG has not said when sentencing of another of the three DMV workers, or of Gomez, is expected to occur, or what penalties they face because the investigation, which is being conducted in conjunction with the FBI and California DMV, is still ongoing.