SANTA ANA- On September 27, 2016, a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employee was convicted and sentenced for illegally taking $2,200 from vehicle registration fees for personal use through fraudulent transactions. Sunila Dang, 48, of Diamond Bar, pleaded guilty to five felony counts of misappropriation of public funds and five felony counts of altering public documents. Dang was sentenced to six months in jail to be served in home confinement, and restitution.
“We trust that public employees will complete our transactions with honesty and integrity,” said Kenny Ehrman, president of the Association of Motor Vehicle Investigators of California (AMVIC). “When we, as DMV investigators, determine dishonesty and theft by a DMV employee, we take swift, law enforcement action. The suspected crimes by this individual should not reflect on the DMV employees who process our motor vehicle transactions every day with honesty and integrity.”
At the time of the crimes, Dang worked as an employee at the DMV in Placentia. Between Jan. 31, 2014 and Feb. 28, 2014, Dang processed cars as junked that had existing credit on them. Credits are associated with a car if cash was used toward its fees but the registration or other transaction was not completed. Those credits become state money at the time a vehicle is registered as junked.
On five separate occasions, when a cash paying customer, who had no connection to the junked car, brought in a car or group of cars (bundled cars) for registration, Dang changed the transaction type code of the junked car from “in the process of being junked” to “in the process of transferring ownership.” She removed the identification of the person who applied to junk the car, allowing her to access the existing credit on the junked car.
Dang combined the junked car with the unrelated car or bundled cars that the customer brought in to register. She used the credit from the junked vehicle to pay toward the DMV fees of the unrelated car or bundled cars and keept the money the customer believed they were using to pay for the registration fees. After the transaction was cleared, Dang finalized the junked vehicle transaction after the credit had been removed.
Dang faced a maximum sentence of 13 years in jail.