Crime - Sacto 911

Want a truck-driving license? Feds say DMV clerks were selling them for bribes

Two state Department of Motor Vehicle workers have been charged in federal court in Sacramento with taking bribes to alter DMV computer records to provide truck-driving licenses to people who had not passed or, in some cases, not even taken the written or behind-the-wheel driving exams.

A document charging the two Southern California women with conspiracy to commit bribery, to commit identity fraud and unauthorized use of a computer was filed under seal in court Wednesday and unsealed on Thursday morning.

The document details an investigation during which undercover agents posing as truck-driving students met with the owners of two Southern California truck-driving schools and agreed to pay to obtain licenses without passing the required tests. The truck-driving school owners, identified only as “Broker A” and “Broker B,” subsequently paid off DMV workers to access agency computers in Sacramento and enter passing scores for the would-be truck drivers, court documents say.

Two workers, Kari Scattaglia, 38, and Lisa Terraciano, 51, were charged in the document, which indicates that other employees also may have been involved.

Scattaglia is identified in court documents as a DMV manager who worked in offices in Granada Hills and Arleta, while Terraciano worked in a Winnetka office. Neither could immediately be reached for comment Thursday. Court records did not list an attorney for either of them, and had no future hearing dates listed. Penalties in the case could include a sentence of up to five years in prison.

The alleged conspiracy lasted from September 2014 through April of this year, court documents say, and included instances where “Scattaglia, Terraciano and the other DMV co-conspirators repeatedly, and without authorization, accessed the DMV computer database and altered DMV records to incorrectly and fraudulently indicate that the truckers had passed the written examinations for Class A, Class B, and/or Class C CDLs.”

The documents also allege that Scattaglia accessed DMV computers “repeatedly” to alter records to say that people had passed behind-the-wheel driving exams when they had either not taken them or passed them.

“In total, the broker co-conspirators were paid no less than $18,600 for the issuance of fraudulent licenses through defendants Scattaglia, Terraciano and the other DMV co-conspirators...,” court documents say.

A Class A license allows a driver to operate a truck weighing more than 26,001 pounds and tow tractor trailers, a Class B license permits drivers to operate buses or straight trucks, but not tractor trailers, and a Class C license is for operating a typical car, the type most drivers have.

The DMV issued a statement late Thursday saying the agency could not comment.

“The DMV takes cases such as these seriously and is fully cooperating with law enforcement,” the department said. “At this time given that it’s an open case, the department cannot offer any further comment.”

Sam Stanton: 916-321-1091, @StantonSam