Nine Charged with Conspiracy and Bribery Involving Southern California DMV Offices
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 11, 2013|
United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced today that a manager who supervises the Licensing Registration Examiners at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in El Cajon, California, was charged in a criminal complaint for his involvement in a bribery conspiracy that resulted in the production of fraudulent driver licenses for applicants who had failed—or not taken—the required driver license tests. According to court documents, Jesse Mario Bryan supervised DMV officials responsible for conducting driving tests for driver license applicants, including Jim Lynn Bean and Jeffrey Bednarek, who were charged in a criminal indictment in May 2012 in a related case (12CR1852-CAB). Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and DMV Investigations Division arrested the defendants earlier today.
The complaint also alleges that Alexander Gonzalez recruited applicants who would pay for fraudulently obtained driver licenses. The complaint further alleges that this entire conspiracy involved the payment of more $100,000 in bribes by applicants to recruiters.
According to the complaint, Frank Tom Attiq, Ali Al Nadawi, Saleh Almuzini, Matthew Allan Elliott, Mohamed Alali, James Lester Shaw, and Hassan Hamad Althami are applicants who paid bribes to receive fraudulent driver licenses by paying recruiters who brokered the corrupt deals for fraudulent licenses by getting money from the applicants and paying the bribes to the DMV employees.
The complaint alleges that from December 2010 through April 2012, Bryan supervised employees at both at the El Cajon DMV office, located at 1450 Graves Avenue, El Cajon, California, and the Rancho San Diego DMV office, located at 1901 Jamacha Road, El Cajon, California, who falsely entered both “passing” written and “passing” driving test scores for applicants in exchange for bribes ranging from $75 to $600 per license. In May 2012, 21 defendants (four of whom were DMV officials) were charged in an indictment with conspiracy to commit bribery and to produce unauthorized identification documents (12CR1852-CAB).
The complaint unsealed today alleges that the corruption scheme involved the fraudulent production of both Class C (regular) and Commercial Class A driver licenses. The applicants paid recruiters approximately $400-$500 for each fraudulent Class C license, which the conspirators produced at the El Cajon DMV. The complaint alleges that the DMV employees accepted bribes paid by these applicants despite the obvious public safety risk posed. Applicants seeking Commercial Class A licenses (produced at the Rancho San Diego DMV) typically paid recruiters $2,500-$3,000. Commercial Class A driver licenses allow the licensee to drive commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds, which can cause enormous harm to the public if operated incorrectly by an unqualified driver. Increasing the danger to the public, DMV employees entered false passing test scores that allowed applicants to fraudulently obtain additional certifications for the operation of the commercial vehicles, such as transporting hazardous materials or towing multiple trailers. The defendants arrested in the Southern District of California are expected to make their initial appearances before United States Magistrate Judge David H. Bartick at 1:30 p.m. today. Two defendants arrested in the Central District of California are expected to make their initial appearance there and be transferred to the Southern District of California on a later date.
United States Attorney Duffy noted that this is a joint investigation by the FBI and DMV and if anyone in the community has information about corruption at the DMV, s/he is asked to contact the San Diego Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 877-NO BRIBE (877-662-7423) or the DMV’s Investigations Branch-Office of Internal Affairs at 626-851-0173.
The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Defendants in Magistrate Case No. 13MJ0475-DHB
Jesse Mario Bryan, age 36
Alexander Gonzalez, age 43
Frank Tom Attiq, age 33
Ali Al Nadawi, age 48
Saleh Almuzini, age 20
Matthew Allan Elliott, age 39
Mohamed Alali, age 20
James Lester Shaw, age 44
Hassan Hamad Althani, age 22
Summary of Charges
- Title 18, United States Code, Section 371—conspiracy to commit bribery and to produce unauthorized identification documents; statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and $100 special assessment.
Defendant: Jesse Mario Bryan
- Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(B)—bribery; statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and $100 special assessment.
Defendant: Alexander Gonzalez
- Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(2)—bribery; statutory maximum of 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and $100 special assessment.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Department of Motor Vehicles-Investigations Division