SACRAMENTO – On August 1, 2019, two Stockton residents were sentenced to prison for their roles in a scheme that helped those applying for commercial driver licenses to pass written tests that they either failed, or never took at all.
Donald Earl Freeman Jr., 26, an employee at the DMV’s Tracy branch, was sentenced to three years and one month in prison. Juan Arturo Arroyo Gomez, 32, was sentenced to one year in prison.
“The actions of these two individuals put the motoring public at risk and posed a threat to national security,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “It also put a stain on the honest, law abiding employees at DMV, who work to maintain the integrity of our driver licenses, ID cards and the testing of individuals who wish to drive on California roadways.”
In December 2017, Freeman and Arroyo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, identity fraud, and unauthorized access to a computer for accepting bribes to change test scores in the computers of the California DMV.
As an employee at the DMV, Freeman was responsible for processing applications for California commercial driver licenses (CDLs). Such CDLs permit the license holders to drive passenger buses or to operate tractor-trailer trucks on California and interstate highways, including, in some cases, hauling hazardous materials. Arroyo was a broker in the scheme and solicited truck driving students to pay him to assist them in obtaining driving permits.
According to court documents, in exchange for money from Arroyo and other brokers, 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 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.
According to their plea agreements, 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.
This case was the product of an investigation by the California Department of Motor Vehicles Office of Internal Affairs and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant U.S. Attorney Rosanne L. Rust prosecuted the case.