SACRAMENTO – On July 19, 2018 former Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employee Sarah Laray Sandoval, 40, of West Sacramento, was sentenced to three years and three months in prison for her participation in a scheme that involved stealing U.S. mail and DMV data to commit bank fraud and identity theft.
“DMV employees stand guard and work to protect our personal information, not steal it and use it against us,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “The illegal actions of this one individual is not a reflection of the men and women who protect your personal information on a daily basis. DMV investigators, who are sworn peace officers, are, in rare instances, called upon to investigate fellow DMV employees and they do so with integrity and commitment to consumer protection and public safety.”
On May 10, 2018, Sandoval pleaded guilty to three counts of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, between December 2016 and June 2, 2017, Sandoval and co-defendant Anthony Andrew Zamarron, 38, of Elk Grove, and others, stole mail throughout Sacramento and Yolo Counties. Then Sandoval and her associates cataloged the stolen mail, profiled victims for identity theft, and researched victims using DMV databases. Sandoval and her associates opened bank and credit accounts in the name of mail theft victims. They forged signatures and deposited the forged checks into accounts in Sandoval's name or into fraudulently opened accounts in victim names. They caused financial institutions to send debit and credit cards and related items to U.S. mail boxes under their control or to which they had access, including Sandoval's own residence.
Sandoval worked at the California DMV starting on June 26, 2000, and was in the DMV “Mandatory Actions Unit” from 2005 to July 14, 2017. She was responsible for making final decisions on reinstating the driving privileges for, among other offenses, driving under the influence. As a senior technician, Sandoval had access to statewide DMV records for license holders and databases containing license holders’ assigned driver license number and personal information, including name, date of birth, business, or residence mailing address. Sandoval accessed DMV data to assist the bank fraud and identity theft scheme.
Sandoval and her associates’ bank fraud and identity theft scheme involved more than 100 different victims and an intended loss of more than $77,000.
Charges are pending against Zamarron, and he has not yet appeared in federal court on these charges. He is presently in custody in the state of Nevada for unrelated charges.
This case is the product of investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with assistance from the California DMV Special Investigations Unit and the Elk Grove Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.