DMV guards, proxy test-takers arrested in New York driverís license scam
In this image taken from surveillance footage, New York DMV security guard Latoya Bourne is allegedly shown taking a bribe, according to state and federal authorities.
Three DMV security guards and eight associates were busted Wednesday for allegedly helping cheaters obtain commercial driverís licenses using an elaborate scheme that included surrogate test-takers and answers etched into pencils in secret code.
Authorities said the corrupt test-takers paid $2,000 to $2,500 for the easy road to getting licensed to operate school buses, big rigs and heavy equipment.
The head honcho of the hoodwink appears to be Akmal Narzikulov, according to the 38-page complaint unsealed Wednesday. He identified himself as an ambulance company worker.
New York DMV security guard Beayaeh Kamara leaves Brooklyn federal court after being arrested for his alleged role in the scam.
Security guards at the Manhattan offices ó Baeyaeh Kamara, Latoya Bourne and Inocente Martinez ó were arrested Wednesday morning along with eight others involved in the scheme, court records show.
The guards are accused of taking bribes to arrange for customers to leave the testing room with their exams, which they gave to a surrogate test-taker outside who looked up the answers on a laptop computer.
The guards would allow the test-takers to enter and leave the testing rooms.
The suspects had developed ways for people to cheat on either the written test or audio test, which gave them a temporary license and enabled them to take the driving exam.
The scam played out in the Department of Motor Vehiclesí offices in lower Manhattan, Harlem, Jamaica, Queens and Massapequa, L.I.
Inocente Gonzalez Martinez, shown leaving the federal court in Brooklyn, was allegedly a facilitator in the licensing scam.
Kamara, Martinez and Bourne ó who is eight months pregnant ó were released on $150,000 bail each after being charged in Brooklyn federal court.
Investigators videotaped the scams in action over the course of the probe, capturing accused surrogate test-taker Marie Daniel filling out the exams in a downtown fast-food restaurant, said Kevin Falk, special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in the complaint. Todd Maisel, New York Daily News/New York Daily News
Accused DMV license scam facilitator Luc Desmangles leaves the Brooklyn federal court.
Other cheaters in Queens and Long Island were instructed to ask for audio exams and were provided pencils that had the answers etched in secret code on the sides, Falk said.
ďThe pencil had a series of dots and dashes on its side. These symbols reflected the correct true or false answers for the audio version to the CDL test,Ē Falk said.
DMV security guard Latoya Bourne, eight months pregnant and one of the eleven accused in a commercial driver's licensing scheme, leaves the federal court in Brooklyn.
Others indicted were Firdavs Mamadaliev, Dale Harper, Joachim Pierre Louis, Luc Desmangles, Jose Tayano and Tanel Daniel.
Narzikulov, Marie and Tanel Daniel, and Tayano were all being held without bail.
All of the suspects, including the guards, were charged with defrauding the DMV and with mail fraud.
Authorities got wind of the operation last spring when it was tipped off by two informants, who agreed to wear electronic wires to help nab the culprits, said Falk.
It remained unclear how many people achieved their underhanded goal through the bamboozle.
The NYPD, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the state Attorney General and the State Inspector General were all involved in the investigation.
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