United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Former DMV Employee Sentenced to Prison for Conspiring to Illegally Issue California Driver's Licenses
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
Docket #: 1:11-cr-274, 275
FRESNO, Calif. -- Former DMV Senior Motor Vehicle Technician Alfonso Casarez, 51, of Fresno, was sentenced yesterday to five years and one month in prison for his involvement in two conspiracies to sell official California driver's licenses to ineligible individuals, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. On August 18, 2011, a federal grand jury returned two indictments charging a total of 15 defendants across the two schemes. Casarez was charged in both indictments.
According to the first indictment, in return for payment, Alfonso Casarez electronically altered DMV records to reflect that applicants for Class C or Class A commercial driver's licenses had passed required written and behind-the-wheel tests when in fact they had not passed those tests. Based on the information that Casarez entered into the DMV records, the DMV issued official California driver's licenses to the applicants.
Casarez’s sister, Rosemary Fierros, passed information and money from the applicants to Casarez for the licenses. Fierros was convicted of the scheme at trial and was sentenced to four years in prison. Other co-conspirators recruited individuals to apply for the fraudulently issued driver's licenses.
“We depend on the honesty of public employees to apply the laws that are designed to keep our roads and highways safe,” U.S. Attorney Wagner stated. “We will prosecute those who misuse their public positions to pursue profits, and who put public safety at risk."
“This sentence should serve as a wake-up call to any public official who thinks nothing of jeopardizing public safety and security in order to feed his or her own greed,” said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge for HSI Fresno. “Counterfeit documents pose serious vulnerabilities that often contribute to other crimes, such as identity theft and financial fraud. Targeting these types of schemes is a priority for HSI, and the agency will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to detect, investigate and dismantle this type of activity.”
“It is extremely disappointing when a DMV employee uses their official position to conduct criminal activity,” said Chief Deputy Director Jean Shiomoto. “The Department is committed to the security of the DMV database we will continue to work aggressively to go after those individuals who are engaged in criminal activities.”
These cases are the product of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the California Department of Motor Vehicles Investigations Division and the DMV Office of Internal Affairs. Assistant United States Attorneys Henry Z. Carbajal III and Grant B. Rabenn are prosecuting the cases.