Next time you pass an eighteen-wheeler truck on the highway, take extra care- employees of the California DMV were busted in a widespread criminal campaign to accept thousands of dollars in bribes for fake trucking licenses that resulted in multiple traffic accidents.
At least 100 commercial truck drivers paid up to $5,000 each to bribe California Department of Motor Vehicles employees for illegal licenses, federal authorities said on Tuesday. Officials said up to 23 traffic accidents could be related to the fraud, though there were no fatalities.
Emma Klem, a 45-year-old Salinas DMV employee, and trucking school owner Kulwidner Dosanjh Singh, 58, both pleaded guilty Tuesday to commit bribery and identity fraud, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said. Two other DMV employees in Salinas and Sacramento and two other Central Valley trucking school operators have been arrested on similar charges.
The employees changed computer records to falsely show that drivers had passed written and behind-the-wheel tests after they were bribed by the owners of three truck-driving schools between June 2011 and March 2015, according to court documents.
This fake license scam is threatening to the safety of all drivers on the road, and a danger to national security as well. This time it was a scam operation for wannabe truck drivers, but next time it could be false licenses for far more nefarious individuals.
The California DMV must take swift action to hold the offenders accountable, tighten up its employee screening process, and create safeguards that make sure this large scale fraud cannot happen again.