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Press Release

Two Stockton Men Plead Guilty in Ongoing Investigation into Issuance of Commercial Licenses to Unqualified Drivers

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Stockton residents Donald Earl Freeman Jr., 25, and Juan Arturo Arroyo Gomez, 30, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit bribery, identity fraud, and unauthorized access to a computer, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Freeman was an employee of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at the Tracy branch office and was responsible for, among other things, processing applications for California commercial driver licenses (CDLs). Such CDLs permit the license holders to operate tractor-trailer trucks on California and interstate highways, including, in some cases, hauling hazardous materials.

In exchange for the payment of money from Arroyo, Freeman accessed the DMV’s database in Sacramento to alter the records of applicants to fraudulently show that the applicants had passed the required written tests when, in truth, the applicants had not passed the tests or, at times, even taken the written tests. In so doing, this caused the DMV to issue permits to those drivers, as well as completed CDLs upon the applicants’ passing the behind-the-wheel driving tests.

Based upon evidence obtained through the investigation, it was determined that Freeman caused no less than 123 fraudulent permits to be issued, including at least 13 at the request of, and in exchange for payment from, Arroyo.

This case is the product of an investigation by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Office of Internal Affairs, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Todd A. Pickles and Rosanne L. Rust are prosecuting the case.

This investigation is ongoing. Freeman is the fourth DMV employee to plead guilty this year in the Eastern District of California in relation to the fraudulent issuance of commercial driver’s licenses. Related cases include United States v. Scattaglia, et al., 2:17-cr-187 GEB, and United States v. Gilliam, 2:17-cr-200 GEB.

Freeman and Arroyo face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Updated December 14, 2017

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 2:17-cr-207 MCE