The employees changed computer records to falsely show that drivers had passed written and behind-the-wheel tests after they were bribed by the owners of three truck-driving schools between June 2011 and March 2015, according to court documents.
“Individuals who use their positions to obtain commercial drivers’ licenses for unskilled and untested drivers jeopardize our nation’s security and safety. Allowing unqualified drivers to operate heavy commercial trucks on our highways is honestly quite chilling,” said Carol Webster, acting assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations office in Sacramento.
Authorities say that up to 23 traffic accidents could be related to the fraud, though luckily there were no fatalities.
According to Fox, this case is the latest in a series of bribery incidents involving the California DMV in recent years. In 2013, a similar scheme was uncovered in Fresno that involved 15 people and resulted in a sentence of more than five years in federal prison for the DMV ringleader. Emma Klem could face similar jail time.
The state’s chief DMV investigator, Frank Alvarez, told reporters that his department is considering additional safeguards to prevent employees from altering computer records and is attempting to better screen its 10,000 employees.