Monday, March 3, 2014

San Diego California DMV corruption scam / bribery conspiracy results in 30 guilty pleas

California's DMV, Department of Motor Vehicles, may be ready for yet another nickname after this bribery scam.  DMV is notorious for challenged service and misunderstandings, California DUI lawyers remind.  In San Diego, 30 people pled guilty to a Department of Motor Vehicles corrupt scam to get illegal driver's licenses for people, San Diego DUI attorneys report.  Here's the scoop:

This  San Diego California DMV scam involved corrupt state DMV employees at the DMV in El Cajon California, and their accomplices between 2009 and 2012, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The investigation is still active because agents say the scheme could still be going on, possibly at other California DMV offices.

In the bribery scam or conspiracy, U.S. Driving School owner Kuvan Piomari told his students he could guarantee them a driver’s license – for a price – even if they had already failed the driving test, per the FBI.

Students in some cases didn’t even have to take the test. 

Piomari’s corrupt connections at the El Cajon DMV provided people with a license with no questions asked, as long as they paid anywhere from $500 to $2,500.

Word of the scheme apparently spread north to Los Angeles and beyond. One client even flew in from Dallas, agents said.

“There was an applicant who they considered very, very dangerous and they joked about this person obtaining a license knowing this person presented a danger to the driving public and the public overall,” said Special Agent Darrell Foxworth.

Some candidates paid for commercial licenses that allowed them to driver tanker trucks carrying hazardous materials.

“Think about having someone behind the 10,000 pound vehicle, going down the street and they don't have the training to control that vehicle,” NBC reports.  Court records showed hundreds of licenses were obtained through the scam, until a new DMV manager arrived and reported the suspicious activity.

Undercover FBI operatives, surveillance and court-ordered wiretaps helped investigators uncover the root of the problem: Piomari, DMV examiner Jeffrey Bednarek, DMV employee Jim Bean and two other employees.

All 30 defendants charged in the conspiracy pleaded guilty to bribery and identification document fraud.. Bednarek will be sentenced in April, and Bean was already sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The FBI is speaking out about this case again because it wants people to be vigilant and report suspicious activity. If you have any information, call the agency at 1-800-NO-BRIBE.