State of Tennessee Driver's License Supervisor Arrested for accepting bribes
Larry Murphy, 54, of Antioch, Tennessee was charged in a federal complaint yesterday with accepting bribes in relation to his employment as a State of Tennessee driver license examiner, announcedJerry E. Martin, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. Joining Martin in the announcement are Aaron Ford, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI-Memphis Division; Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations- New Orleans; and Bill Gibbons, Commissioner of the State of Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. The federal bribery charges follow a 5-month, joint investigation undertaken by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Nashville alleges that Murphy, a supervisory driver license examiner, employed by the Tennessee Department of Safety, at a licensing facility on Hart Lane, in Nashville, accepted thousands of dollars in bribes to issue Tennessee driver licenses to applicants who either failed or did not take the written tests required.
“These allegations pose two serious problems facing our nation-public corruption and public safety,” said U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin. “Both issues are high priorities of the Department of Justice and we will continue to dedicate the necessary resources to root out corruption and punish those who would jeopardize the safety of our citizens. Our partners at the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security are vigilant in enacting and enforcing regulations designed to protect the motoring public on our streets and highways and equally vigilant when it comes to dealing with those who would seek to circumvent its processes.”
“Corruption by public officials undermines the public trust and can threaten the overall safety of our community,” said Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Public corruption is the number one criminal priority of the FBI and we will continue to work with our partners to bring to justice those who would seek to line their own pockets and in doing so, jeopardize the safety of the public.”
“Fraudulent identification documents can be utilized in the full spectrum of criminal activity—everything from illegal employment to plotting acts of terrorism,” said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations- New Orleans. “The successful outcome of this collaborative effort reflects another example of Homeland Security Investigations’ commitment to work alongside our law enforcement partners to investigate this type of crime to the fullest extent to ensure the safety and security of our nation.”
"The state's driver service center employees are on the front lines of homeland security," Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. "We must not let Tennessee driver licenses be issued to individuals who are not entitled to them. When we became aware of possible criminal activity involving this individual, we launched an immediate investigation and turned the case over to federal officials. Any action that places driver licenses in the hands of the wrong people will not be tolerated by this department."
According to the criminal complaint, filed in U.S. District Court, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Tennessee Department of Safety conducted a joint investigation designed to uncover the illegal acceptance of bribes by Murphy, in exchange for issuing Tennessee Driver Licenses.
The complaint alleges that between January 2012 and April 17, 2012, Murphy improperly provided several drivers’ licenses to four undercover operatives in exchange for payment, including issuance of commercial driver’s licenses, which are required to legally operate large vehicles such as tractor trailers. In one instance, the complaint alleges that Murphy simply fabricated a social security number on one such application when the undercover operative told him that he did not have a social security number. Murphy also manufactured a false medical certification for the commercial license application, which is required to demonstrate that an applicant is physically capable of operating a large vehicle.
If convicted, Murphy faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hilliard Hester.
Charges brought by a criminal complaint are merely accusations. All defendants have the right to a trial, at which, the government must bear the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
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