News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

FORMER DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING EMPLOYEE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR TAKING BRIBES
A Second DOL Employee Pleads Guilty in Unrelated Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2011

LACY JONES, Jr., 54 , a former Washington State Department of Licensing employee was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to one year in prison and two years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit unlawful production of identification documents. JONES conspired with others to provide Washington State Drivers Licenses and/or Identification cards to applicants who did not meet the residency requirements for the State of Washington. JONES resigned from the Department of Licensing May 12, 2010, following an investigation by the FBI. JONES had been employed at the Department of Licensing Office in Federal Way. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman said, “This is a serious offense.... You held a position of trust.”

According to records filed in the case, applicants for drivers licenses or identification cards would contact JONES in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant near the licensing office to make arrangements to obtain the identifying documents. JONES and his co-conspirator charged as much as $1,500 for the documents. In one instance, JONES allegedly told a person working with law enforcement to put some “phony papers” in an envelope and approach his counter station at the DOL office. Using a variety of receipts that did not meet the state requirements, the applicant was able to obtain an identity document from JONES.

Just hours before JONES was sentenced, in an unrelated case, another Department of Licensing employee, MELINDA KAY JOHNSON, pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Production of Identification Documents. JOHNSON worked at the Bellevue office of the Department of Licensing. In her plea agreement, JOHNSON admits that on nine different occasions between June 2008 and February 2010, she unlawfully accepted payment to provide Washington State identification cards. The plea agreement indicates that on some occasions the amount of payment was between $2,000 and $3,000, and that the total amount of money JOHNSON received over the course of the conspiracy was between $10,000 and $30,000. JOHNSON admits that she provided identification cards to her co-conspirators under false identities, as well as to individuals who did not produce valid evidence of residency. According to records in the case, the identification cards were then used to open bank accounts for use in a check kiting scheme that caused Bank of America to sustain hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses. JOHNSON is scheduled to be sentenced June 16, 2011.

“The illegal production of identification documents by a DOL employee represents a significant breach of the public trust, with potential implications that go beyond the fraud itself,” said Laura M. Laughlin, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office. “The FBI takes these cases seriously, and these convictions are the result of effective partnerships with the Washington DOL, the U.S. Secret Service, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate and prosecute public officials and employees engaged in this type of fraud and corruption.”

JONES’ criminal activity was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Washington State Department of Licensing. JOHNSON’s criminal activity is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, King County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI with assistance from the Washington State Department of Licensing.

JONES was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman Barbosa. JOHNSON is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Scoville and Kate Vaughan.

 

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