In a complaint unsealed last week in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., 11 individuals were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud as part of an extensive scheme to let applicants for New York State commercial driver’s licenses cheat on required tests.
All 11 have been arraigned in federal court, with five being detained.
Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, along with other federal and state law enforcement agencies, announced the charges.
The defendants allegedly charged each applicant approximately $1,500 to $2,500 for assistance in cheating on their CDL exam. Between April 2013 and September 2013, the defendants helped more than 60 people fraudulently obtain or attempt to obtain CDLs, according to the complaint.
One cheating method the defendants allegedly used was to provide applicants with a coded pencil that contained a series of dots and dashes inscribed on the sides. These symbols reflected the correct true or false answers to the audio version of the CDL exam, according to prosecutors.
Another cheating method the defendants allegedly orchestrated enabled applicants to cheat on written CDL tests at various DMV offices in Queens, Long Island and Manhattan. Defendants employed as DMV security guards surreptitiously signaled applicants to leave the DMV offices with their uncompleted tests in hand, say prosecutors, while other defendants met the applicants outside the DMV offices and arranged for another defendant to complete the exams. Applicants then allegedly re-entered the DMV with the completed exams and submitted them for grading. The security guards received cash bribes for their role in the scheme, according to prosecutors.
“As alleged in the complaint, with their wide-spread cheating scheme, the defendants enabled unqualified drivers to take to our roads and highways behind the wheel of large buses and heavy trucks,” said Lynch. “In doing so, they jeopardized the safety of other drivers, their passengers and even pedestrians.”
The defendants are: Akmal Narzikulov, 28, of Brooklyn; Firdavs Mamadaliev, 22, of Brooklyn; Dale Harper, 48, of Bronx; Joachim Pierre Louis, 32, of Brooklyn; Latoya Bourne, 32, of Brooklyn; Marie Daniel, 47, of Queens Village; Luc Desmangles, 27, of Brooklyn; Beayeah Karmara, 25, of Staten Island; Jose Payano, 44, of Brooklyn; Tanael Daniel, 36, of Brooklyn; and Inocente Rene Gonzalez-Martinez, 57, of Brooklyn.
If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment. Additionally, if convicted, the defendants may be fined up to $250,000.