April 2, 2014
New York State Police Assist State Investigator General’s Office and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office with DMV Sweep
Defendants Accused of Paying Thousands of Dollars for Answers to Specialized Commercial Driver’s License Written Examinations
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott today announced the indictments of 21 defendants for paying individuals to fraudulently provide them with answers to written examinations administered by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) that grant specialized licenses to commercial drivers. The defendants are each charged in New York State Supreme Court with multiple counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree and False Statements, Alterations or Records or Substitution in Connection with an Examination.1
1 The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
“We entrust the holders of specialized licenses to drive our kids to school, transport dangerous materials, and perform other important tasks, all behind the wheels of large motor vehicles,” said District Attorney Vance. “It is critical that these drivers have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform these duties safely. The defendants are accused of fraudulently obtaining specialized licenses, putting at risk the lives of everyone who shares our roadways.”
Inspector General Scott said: “People with commercial driver licenses operate school buses and heavy trailered vehicles that carry hazardous chemicals and petroleum. We entrust the operators of these vehicles to safely bring our children to and from school. We count on them to navigate very busy transportation networks without getting into catastrophic accidents. Test cheating puts innocent people at grave risk and cannot be tolerated. I have conducted this investigation to ensure the safety of our communities and to hold test cheaters accountable. I will continue to work closely with District Attorney Vance identifying and arresting test cheaters and those who have promoted this dangerous scheme
to be sure the individuals we have arrested will be held fully accountable for their criminal activity.”
James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, New York, said: “When your child gets on the school bus in the morning, you should not have to worry that the bus driver obtained a commercial driver’s license through a fraudulent scheme. Today’s arrests remove dangerous drivers from our streets and make our roads and our communities safer.”
The DMV certifies commercial drivers to perform special tasks such as transporting hazardous materials, operating a school bus, or driving tandem trailers and tow trucks. In order to obtain these certifications, applicants are required to take an examination and supplemental tests known as endorsements.
According to documents filed in court, between April and August 2013, the defendants paid as much as $4,000 to fraudulently receive answers to specialized commercial driver’s license written examinations. Typically, this is how the alleged scheme worked: Test takers took exam materials from the DMV’s testing area, left the building, and handed the tests to complicit members of the scheme to fill in the correct responses. The completed exams were given back to registered test takers, who returned to the DMV testing area and submitted the exams for grading. Through this scheme, the test takers were able to fraudulently earn endorsements.
On September 26, 2013, District Attorney Vance, Inspector General Scott, and U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch announced the indictments of 19 defendants for their participation in the test-taking scheme, including eight ringleaders, eight test takers, and three security guards. Today’s indictments come as a continuation of that investigation. Eight of the ten defendants charged by the Manhattan DA’s Office have already pleaded guilty.
Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Gross is handling the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Judy Salwen and Archana Rao, Deputy Chiefs of the Special Prosecutions Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Michael Sachs, Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau. Senior Investigator Jose Vasquez, Supervising Investigator Jonathan Reid, and Deputy Chief Investigator Santiago Batista, of the DANY Investigation Bureau, and Captain Joseph Del Duca, of the DANY Squad, also provided valuable assistance.
District Attorney Vance thanked New York State Inspector General Scott, as well as the following individuals and agencies for their assistance with the investigation: Investigators Anne Peters, Roberto Santana, Donnalynn Gazza, William Gleeson, Angelus Okeke, and Jasmin Jack, of the New York State Inspector General’s Office; Investigator Fernando Bullen and Senior Investigator Robert Riley, of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles; Senior State Police Investigator Leslie Simpson and the New York State Police Department; and the Department of Homeland Security.
DEFENDANTS 1-21 (Listed below)
• Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, 3 counts
• False Statements, Alteration of Records, or Substitution in Connection with Examination, a misdemeanor, 3 counts
ELI ABREU, Queens, NY
WILSON BRUNO, Brooklyn, NY
ANGEL CAMPUSANO, Brooklyn, NY
CONCEPCION CRUZ, Nassau, NY
JEAN DESTIN, Queens, NY
AMADOU DIALLO, Brooklyn, NY
JUAN FLORES, Suffolk, NY
JESUS GUERRERO, Brooklyn, NY
DENTON HARDING, Queens, NY
LUIS HERNANDEZ, Queens, NY
HOLGER MARIN, Queens, NY
JOSE MARTINEZ, Nassau, NY
JUAN MARTINEZ, Suffolk, NY
AGIM MUSTAFAJ (KELMENDI), Putnam, NY
NAYIB PENA, Westchester, NY
JOSE QUIROZ, Suffolk, NY
ARIEL RONDON-MORONTA, Queens, NY
VICTOR SANMARTIN, Westchester, NY
LEROY SIMPSON, Westchester, NY
MARIE SIXTO, Nassau, NY
ROBERTO TINEO, Queens, NY