SACRAMENTO- On December 14, 2017, Stockton residents Donald Earl Freeman Jr., 25, and Juan Arturo Arroyo Gomez, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, identity fraud, and unauthorized access to a computer in a case in which they assisted unqualified drivers to obtain commercial driver licenses.
According to court documents, Freeman was an employee of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at the Tracy branch office and was responsible for, among other things, processing applications for California commercial driver licenses (CDLs). Such CDLs permit the license holders to operate tractor-trailer trucks on California and interstate highways, including, in some cases, hauling hazardous materials.
In exchange for the payment of money from Arroyo, Freeman accessed the DMV’s database in Sacramento to alter the records of applicants to fraudulently show that the applicants had passed the required written tests when, in truth, the applicants had not passed the tests or, at times, even taken the written tests. In so doing, this caused the DMV to issue permits to those drivers, as well as completed CDLs upon the applicants’ passing the behind-the-wheel driving tests.
“California DMV investigators worked with federal investigators in what has become an ongoing investigation into illegal behavior by some DMV employees and outsiders,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “The criminal behavior of a small group should not reflect on the honest, hard-working, dedicated employees who work to keep the motoring public safe.”
Based upon evidence obtained through the investigation, it was determined that Freeman caused no less than 123 fraudulent permits to be issued, including at least 13 at the request of, and in exchange for payment from, Arroyo.
Freeman is the fourth California DMV employee to plead guilty this year in relation to the fraudulent issuance of commercial driver’s licenses.
Freeman and Arroyo face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.