You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Former Local 17 Business Agent Pleads Guilty To Misusing Dmv Database

CONTACT:    Barbara Burns
PHONE:      (716) 843-5817
FAX:         (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that Jeffrey A. Peterson, 51, of Freedom, NY, pleaded guilty to exceeding authorized access to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYS DMV) database before Senior U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny. The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Anthony M. Bruce, who is handling the prosecution, stated that Peterson was employed as a business agent with Local 17 of the Operating Engineers International, AFL-CIO. As a business agent, the defendant had authority to access to the NYS DMV database for the limited purpose of determining if current Local 17 members had up to date commercial drivers’ licenses.

On April 25, 2005, Peterson accessed the NYS DMV database to determine the registered owner of a vehicle that appeared at a Local 17 picket line outside Portville, NY four days earlier on April 21, 2005. Such an inquiry was outside the scope of the agreement between Local 17 and the NYS DMV. This vehicle, as it turned out, belonged to the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General and was being driven by a Department of Labor Special Agent. This incident was just one of multiple violations of the agreement which resulted in the NYS DMV denying Local 17 further access to the database.

The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Special Agents of the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Garcia of the New York Regional Office

Sentencing is scheduled for July 15, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Skretny.

Updated April 9, 2015