To Date, Corruption Probe Has Charged Five DMV Employees and Five “Brokers” Selling Driver Licenses for Thousands of Dollars Each to Non-U.S. Citizens
OAKLAND – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The United States Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), announced that two more individuals, including one more DMV employee, have been charged in an alleged scheme in which DMV employees accepted bribes of more than $1000 in exchange for providing California driver licenses to individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States. This investigation is ongoing.
According to the indictment, defendant Jose Ramirez, of Oakland, charged individuals between $1000 and $1500 each in exchange for obtaining a fraudulent duplicate driver license. Ramirez allegedly met with these individuals in the parking lot of the DMV branch located at 5300 Claremont Avenue, accepted the bribe, then went inside the DMV. The indictment alleges that DMV employee Marla Robinson, also of Oakland, then processed each of these individuals’ driver licenses. The licenses issued by Robinson were duplicate driver licenses; it is alleged that Robinson issued licenses that reflected the name and date of birth of a legitimate licensee, but that reflected the photograph of the person who had paid Ramirez between $1,000 to $1,500. The indictment recites seven instances where Robinson and Ramirez engaged in this conduct, all in July 2005.
Robinson was arrested this morning and authorities are seeking Ramirez. Robinson will make her initial appearance in federal court 10:00 a.m.on Monday before Magistrate Wayne D. Brazil in Oakland.
This investigation by the FBI has resulted in four federal indictments charging a total of 10 defendants, half of them DMV employees. To date, the following five individuals have pleaded guilty:
DMV Employee Frances E. Aliganga, of Fairfield,
“Broker” Veronica Rivera (a.k.a. Veronica Antonio),
DMV employee Brachelle D. Fifer, of Oakland,
DMV Employee Stephanie Denise Davis, of Oakland,
“Broker” Shahid Hamid, of Oakland.
All five of the DMV employees charged in this investigation were employed at the DMV branch at 5300 Claremont Avenue in Oakland.
Robinson and Ramirez are each charged with eight counts: one count of conspiring to commit honest services mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, and seven counts of honest services mail fraud and aiding and abetting, each in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341, 1346, and 2. The maximum statutory penalty for the conspiracy count is 5 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. The maximum statutory penalty for each of the other seven counts is 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. Any sentence following conviction, however, would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
An indictment contains only allegations, and, as with all defendants, Ms. Robinson and Mr. Ramirez must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Douglas Sprague is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Legal Technician Katie Glynn. The prosecution is the latest prosecution in a series of charges resulting from a two-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
A copy of the press release charging the original eight defendants can be found at: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/can/press/html/2005_08_04_DMV.html.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/ (click on the link for “to retrieve documents from the court”).
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at Luke.Macaulay@usdoj.gov.