United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Fresno Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Illegally Issue California Driver Licenses
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Monday, December 10, 2012
Docket #: 1:11-cr-00275 LJO
FRESNO, Calif. — Yadwinder Singh, 50, of Fresno, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill to three years in prison for conspiring to unlawfully produce California driver’s licenses, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
“This sentence should give pause to anyone engaged in this type of fraud about the serious consequences of those actions,” said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge for HSI Fresno. “Schemes like this not only pose a threat to public safety, but there are potential national security implications as well. HSI will continue to vigorously investigate those who put our communities at risk simply to satisfy their own greed.”
According to court documents, Singh acted as a recruiter of recipients in a scheme to sell fraudulently obtained “Class C” or “Class A” commercial driver’s licenses. Former DMV technician Alfonso Casarez took the recipients’ information obtained by Singh and had driver’s licenses issued. Casarez altered the electronic DMV records to make it appear as though the recipients had passed the required written and behind-the-wheel tests although they had either never passed the tests or had never taken them. The DMV would automatically issue and mail a genuine driver’s license to the recipient.
According to court documents, Singh found paying recipients by waiting outside of the Fresno DMV. He approached people with an offer to assist them in obtaining Class A commercial or Class C licenses without the need to pass required tests. Another recruiting technique used by Singh involved him posing as a trucking school instructor. Participants would complete a DMV application and receive rudimentary instruction from Singh in operating a commercial truck. Upon paying Singh a substantial “tuition” payment, participants would be told they had passed all DMV tests. A portion of the tuition payment went to Alfonso Casarez, who would cause the driver’s license to be issued unlawfully. Between 2007 and January 2011, Singh caused at least 32 commercial and noncommercial licenses to be unlawfully produced during the course of the conspiracy.
Charges are pending against Casarez and one other co-defendant. Casarez is set for trial on April 2, 2013. The charges are only allegations and the remaining defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
In another case, Dimas Dominguez Martinez, 39, of Madera, pleaded guilty today. According to court documents, Martinez admitted to assisting three people to fraudulently obtain driver’s licenses.
Martinez is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence O’Neill on March 4, 2012. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
Former DMV employee Casarez is also a defendant in this case. He and three other defendants currently await trial scheduled for February 26, 2013. The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Both cases are the product of investigations by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Investigations Division, Office of Internal Affairs. Assistant United States Attorneys Henry Z. Carbajal III and Grant B. Rabenn are prosecuting the cases.