FORMER DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING EMPLOYEE, CURRENT EMPLOYEE AND CO-CONSPIRATOR SENTENCED FOR SCHEME TO SELL DRIVERS LICENSES
Bellevue DOL Workers and Recruiter Took Cash to Provide Identity Documents
Seattle - One former employee of the Washington State Department of Licensing, one current employee and the leader of a conspiracy to illegally sell identification documents were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle. RODRIGO MOURA, 33, a Brazilian immigrant who was residing in Kirkland at the time of his arrest in June 2010, was sentenced today to two years in prison. He likely will be deported following his prison term. MELANIE YODER, 46, who has been on leave from the Department of Licensing since her arrest last June, was sentenced to two months in prison, four months of home detention and two years of supervised release. ANA-MARIE LIZARES, 52, who quit her DOL job after her arrest, was sentenced to eight months in prison and two years of supervised release. Judge Richard Jones imposed the sentences saying, “when you put false identifications in the stream of commerce... you have no idea what the consequences might be.”
According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, in September 2009, the FBI received a tip that MOURA was arranging for unqualified people to receive Washington State drivers licenses and identity cards. According to the tip, people were coming from all over the United States to get the Washington State documents because the state does not require proof of legal immigration. However, the state does require documentation of residency, and these applicants did not meet that requirement. MOURA allegedly picked the applicants up at the airport, provided them with an address to use in the application process, provided answers to any test questions, and arranged for the applicant to be processed by DOL employees LIZARES or YODER at the Bellevue licensing office.
The investigation determined that MOURA charged the applicants $3,000 for the licenses, and paid approximately $500 per license to YODER or LIZARES. The investigation determined that YODER issued 20-25 licenses making less than $5,000 while LIZARES issued 50-75 licenses making up to $10,000.
In recommending prison terms for the government workers, Assistant United States Attorney Norman Barbosa wrote to the court that “The corruption of public officials who have been trusted to issue secure identification documents is the type of crime that tends to undermine the public’s confidence in government. At a time of severe budget shortages at both the State and Federal level, this type of behavior makes it exceedingly difficult for governments to assure the public that their tax dollars are being used appropriately.”
The Department of Licensing assisted the FBI in its investigation. Now that the criminal case against MELANIE YODER is complete, DOL will review her employment status.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman Barbosa.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.