NY probes commercial driver's license scam - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

NY probes commercial driver's license scam

AP AP

NEW YORK (AP) - New York drivers apparently cheated on hundreds of tests to operate the most vulnerable vehicles on the road - from trucks hauling hazardous materials to school buses - and eight commercial drivers have been charged so far, state and federal officials said Thursday.

Nineteen suspects, including three security guards, have been arrested, officials announced Thursday. They were arraigned Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to charges linked to what officials say is an elaborate scheme to obtain commercial driver's licenses with purchased test replies.

Some drivers used pencils inscribed with coded answers to test questions, state Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said at a Manhattan news conference.

Scott said the arrests represent only the tip of the iceberg in a probe also involving the New York City Police Department and agents from the federal Department of Homeland Security. Investigators don't yet know exactly how many drivers might be on the road with criminally obtained licenses.

"This is just the beginning," the inspector general said.

Only one of those charged this week had gotten behind the wheel after the cheating was revealed to authorities by a person Scott called a "confidential source" with knowledge of the scheme but who was not part of it.

Jackson Gilles worked as a school bus driver for a bus company in Westbury on Long Island, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who worked with the inspector general's office, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, and the Department of Motor Vehicles to shut down the cheating operation.

"Our investigation uncovered numerous people who paid others thousands of dollars for answers," Scott said. "They were potential drivers of the most dangerous vehicles on the road - tractor trailers, tow trucks, tanker trucks, double and triple trailers."

Officials displayed surveillance camera photos of security guards allegedly accepting cash bribes of up to $4,000 in the street near DMV offices in lower Manhattan and Harlem.

Federal immigration officials also are involved because some of the suspects are foreign-born and their immigration status is in question, Scott said.

Eleven of the suspects face mail fraud conspiracy charges, accused of organizing and operating the scheme; eight are charged with cheating on both written and audio tests.

Authorities said applicants would leave the test site and hand blank tests to one of the organizers of the scam or a "runner" who would take the form to someone who could fill in the correct answers to questions on subjects such as brake safety, loading hazardous materials and vehicle control. The completed test would then be returned to the test taker. In some instances, they received interim licenses immediately.

Some of the 19 suspects were freed on $150,000 bond; others remained in custody, Scott said.

The investigation was first reported Thursday by the New York Daily News.

 

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • City announces bike share community workshops

    City announces bike share community workshops

    The City of New Orleans, in conjunction with Social Bicycles Inc. (SoBi), announced today it will hold six community workshops to collect resident feedback on where to place the initial 70 bike stations before the fall 2017 launch of the City's bike share program.

    more>>

    The City of New Orleans, in conjunction with Social Bicycles Inc. (SoBi), announced today it will hold six community workshops to collect resident feedback on where to place the initial 70 bike stations before the fall 2017 launch of the City's bike share program.

    more>>
  • Solar panels lighting up New Orleans East

    Solar panels lighting up New Orleans East

    Solar energy is blanketing one neighborhood even after state tax credits disappeared. In New Orleans East at least 2,150 homes have solar energy and several homeowners are landing the panels at little or no initial cost. At Mary Queen of Vietnam, the church installed a large solar system including a hot water heater panel. “One single panel like that we don't have to use any other energy from the roof to make the water heater work and so it's a big saving to us,” Anthon...

    more>>

    Solar energy is blanketing one neighborhood even after state tax credits disappeared. In New Orleans East at least 2,150 homes have solar energy and several homeowners are landing the panels at little or no initial cost. At Mary Queen of Vietnam, the church installed a large solar system including a hot water heater panel. “One single panel like that we don't have to use any other energy from the roof to make the water heater work and so it's a big saving to us,” Anthon...

    more>>
  • Car burglary suspects caught on surveillance video

    Car burglary suspects caught on surveillance video

    Surveillance cameras captured pictures of two men the NOPD says were seen burglarizing multiple vehicles in a downtown garage.  Investigators say the images from inside the garage in the 400 block of O'Keefe Street show one man wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and blue jogging pants. The second suspect also had on a blue sweatshirt with white lettering on the front and red sweatpants.  Police say the men were seen leaving the garage in what appears to be a blue Chrysler ve...more>>
    Surveillance cameras captured pictures of two men the NOPD says were seen burglarizing multiple vehicles in a downtown garage.  Investigators say the images from inside the garage in the 400 block of O'Keefe Street show one man wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and blue jogging pants. The second suspect also had on a blue sweatshirt with white lettering on the front and red sweatpants.  Police say the men were seen leaving the garage in what appears to be a blue Chrysler ve...more>>
Powered by Frankly