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Crime Q&A: What is the status of defendants in DMV license fraud case?

Benjamin B. Wagner, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, said operators of truck-driving schools paid bribes of $5,000 or more to DMV employees to secure unearned driver’s licenses.
Benjamin B. Wagner, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, said operators of truck-driving schools paid bribes of $5,000 or more to DMV employees to secure unearned driver’s licenses. The Associated Press

Q: In May you ran a story about Andrew Kimura, who pleaded guilty for his role in a DMV scandal. He was to be sentenced Aug. 12. You mentioned Emma Klem, who previously pleaded guilty and had yet to be sentenced, and Mangal Gill and Robert Turchin had yet to stand trial. Can you tell me anything more about these cases?

Bonnie, Sacramento

A: Sacramento resident Andrew Kimura, a former Department of Motor Vehicles employee, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in connection with a scheme to issue fraudulent licenses.

Federal court records available online show that Kimura, 31, was sentenced Aug. 12 to 46 months in prison to be followed by 24 months of supervised release.

According to the plea agreement, between April 2013 and July 2015, Kimura received money from various brokers to provide driver’s licenses for people who had not taken or passed the necessary DMV examinations. He then accessed the DMV’s database to alter records, indicating that those individuals had passed certain tests. As a result, the individuals were able to obtain driver’s licenses without taking or passing the required written or behind-the-wheel driving tests.

Kimura also altered DMV records to provide for renewal of various California driver’s licenses in exchange for money from brokers, authorities said.

Emma Klem, another DMV employee, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery as part of the same investigation. Federal court records show she is scheduled for a status hearing regarding sentencing on Feb. 17. Klem, a 15-year veteran of the DMV, was assigned to the department’s Salinas field office.

Three other defendants in the case – Robert Turchin, Mangal Gill and Pavitar Dosangh Singh – are awaiting trial and, according to online court records, their next court date, for a status conference, is Sept. 23. Turchin was a licensing-registration examiner in the DMV’s Salinas office, and Singh was identified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as the owner and operator of Sacramento Truck School. Gill, of San Ramon, operated trucking schools at several California locations and allegedly asked Klem to alter applicants’ DMV records to falsely indicate that they had passed tests for licenses.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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