For at least three years, DMV employees sold California driver’s licenses for cash to people that were funneled their way via the owner of a local driving school. For $500 to $2,500, students of the school, which frequently catered to Middle Eastern immigrants, could obtain a license without ever even taking the driver’s test.
“One guy flew in from Dallas, took a cab to the DMV office, paid for his license, and flew back to Dallas a few hours later,” said Special Agent Mike Peters. “It was so blatant that our surveillance showed the driving school operator brokering multiple deals in the DMV parking lot.”
“They had gotten away with it for so long,” added Special Agent Kim George “that they were extremely confident and had no plans to stop. They would leave work with $500 in cash in their pocket. That could be one day a week or two. They were doing very well.”
Thirty defendants have been charged and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and identification document fraud. Jeffrey Bednarek, a DMV examiner who conducted driving tests, is set to be sentenced in April.
“We hope this case sends a message. This type of corruption will not be tolerated,” Peters said.