Crime - Sacto 911

More prison time for DMV fraudsters caught up in fake truck licensing scheme

Two men were sentenced to prison Friday in federal court in Sacramento as part of a continuing FBI investigation of fraud within the California DMV, prosecutors said.

DMV employee Robert Turchin, 68, of Salinas was sentenced to six years and six months and Pavittar Dosangh Singh, 57, of Flowood, Miss., was sentenced to 10 months, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott. Both men were sentenced on counts of conspiracy to commit bribery and identity fraud, the release said.

Turchin worked at the Salinas DMV from 2012 to 2015, and was responsible for administering tests to people seeking commercial licenses.

Turchin worked with truck school owner Mangal Gill and others to falsely obtain commercial licenses for people who had not taken or passed the tests, according to prosecutors.

Trial evidence showed that Turchin and his co-conspirators falsified at least 40 records, and investigators found in his vehicle slips of paper containing the numbers of falsified drivers license records as well as more than $10,000 in cash, the release said.

Gill, who commissioned Turchin and fellow DMV employee Emma Klem, was sentenced Nov. 2 to four years and three months in prison, the release said. Klem is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 16.

Singh operated a trucking school in Sacramento, and between April 2013 and March 2015 used intermediaries to pay DMV employees for falsified licenses, according to the release.

During his sentencing, Turchin insisted that he worked hard and did not take bribes. Turchin was found guilty by a federal jury in June.

“I did not take any bribes,” Turchin told U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. Turchin went on to describe health issues he wanted the judge to know about, including sleep apnea, circulation and chiropractic problems and cataracts.

Burrell did not appeared to be moved, declaring that what Turchin had done was “an egregious breach of trust.”

These latest sentencings come as a result of a six-year operation by the FBI and resulted in charges against eight individuals and caused over 600 licenses to be revoked.

The DMV has been targeted by the feds over the last few years for identity theft and fraud, with at least 40 prosecutions filed in Sacramento in Fresno over the last seven years.

The Bee’s Sam Stanton contributed to this report.
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