News and Press Releases

Federal Way Employee Conspired with Others to Sell Licenses to Brazilian Nationals Who Failed Driving Tests

March 12, 2007

ZAGARI SHUNTA MOORE, 37, of Federal Way, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to a year and a day in prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Commit Document Fraud. MOORE, an employee at the Washington State Department of Licensing, sold Washington Driver’s Licenses to more than 238 people who did not pass the required driver’s license tests. Many of the applicants were Brazilian nationals who were in the U.S. illegally. MOORE remains on paid administrative leave from the State Department of Licensing. At sentencing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart stated he could find “no motivation for the crime other than MOORE’s desire to profit from his position of public trust.”

According to documents filed in the case, MOORE was allegedly paid $250 to provide a drivers license to applicants who could not pass the driving test. Investigators with the Department of Licensing determined that MOORE was altering computer records regarding test scores. In asking for a significant sentence Assistant United States Attorney Ye-Ting Woo noted to the court that MOORE had put the public at risk. “By issuing fraudulently obtained drivers licenses, (MOORE) has placed in jeopardy the safety of the citizens of Washington State, as well as other states where the applicants now reside and drive,” Ms. Woo wrote in her sentencing memo.

In addition to MOORE, three other co-conspirators have pleaded guilty and been sentenced in connection with the scheme. Mauro Martins, 45, and his wife Sonia Regina Hoffman, 47, both of Kirkland, Washington and Jackson Ronaldo Da Conceicao, 31, of Boston, Massachusetts, were all involved in recruiting and assisting Brazilian nationals who traveled to Seattle to get Washington drivers licenses. On February 20, 2007, Martins was sentenced to six months in prison and three years of supervised release, Hoffman was sentenced to three years of probation with six months of home detention, and Da Conceicao was sentenced to 155 days in prison and three years of supervised release.

At today’s sentencing hearing Department of Licensing investigator Cheri Tinney described having to check every license MOORE issued over a nine month period. The Department of Licensing cancelled 238 licenses for fraud. Tinney told the judge, “Individuals who were unable to pass the test are driving on roads” in Washington and other states.

Judge Robart noted that MOORE served honorably in the military for 12 years prior to his time as a public employee at the Department of Corrections and later the Department of Licensing. “The defendant has lived with notions of duty and honor.... Now he has taken filthy lucre in betrayal of public trust,” the Judge said. Judge Robart expressed concern that the case will erode public confidence in the Department of Licensing.
This case was investigated by the Washington State Department of Licensing and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ye-Ting Woo.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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