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Press Release

Former DMV Employee Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Participating in Corrupt Bribery Conspiracy involving Commercial Driver Licenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Shawana Denise Harris, 52, of Phelan, was sentenced today to five years in prison for participating in a conspiracy to commit bribery, to commit unauthorized access of a computer, and to commit identity fraud, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Harris was a long-time DMV employee who had the ability to update test scores for commercial driver’s license applicants in California. Using her position as a public employee at the DMV, Harris accepted bribes in exchange for fraudulently updating test scores for people pursuing commercial driver’s licenses. For at least 185 commercial license applicants, Harris used her access to DMV computers to enter fraudulent test scores indicating the applicants had passed written and/or behind the wheel commercial drive tests, when in reality the applicants had not passed those tests. Harris and a co-conspirator were typically paid at least $1,500 per applicant for fraudulently updating test scores, resulting in approximately $277,500 worth of corrupt bribes.

This case was the product of an investigation by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Office of Internal Affairs; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Homeland Security Investigations; and the Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rosanne L. Rust and Christopher S. Hales prosecuted the case.

Updated November 3, 2022