Guilty pleas from three people have been secured by prosecutors in two related cases in connection with commercial driver’s license test taking schemes in New York.
On Jan. 12, Marie Daniel pleaded guilty after she was indicted, along with ten others, in October 2013 by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn.
Am investigation by the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General, along with other federal and state law enforcement agencies, revealed fraudulent CDL test-taking activities had taken place at five known New York State Department of Motor Vehicles test centers in the New York City area.
Surveillance operations, including the use of remote observation posts and pole-cams, identified the defendants participating in the fraud scheme, including DMV security personnel, an external test-taker, facilitators, "runners", and lookouts, according to the Office of Inspector General.
Conspiring CDL applicants were known to have paid facilitators between $1,800 to $2,500 in return for CDL exam answers and escort assistance through DMV processes.
The fraud schemes included the use of pencils containing miniaturized encoded test answers, the use of a Bluetooth headset as a communication device to relay CDL test answers, and the use of an external test-taker positioned nearby to take the exams, according to investigators, who identified Marie Daniel as an external test-taker.
There was no information from the Office of Inspector General on Daniel’s sentence nor was there information as to the status of the charges that were filed against the 10 others.
Related to Daniel’s plea are those from the owners and operators of a commercial driving school in Brooklyn.
On Jan. 8, spouses Ying Wai Phillip Ng and Pui Kuen Ng of N&Y Professional Service Line, admitted to fraud in connection with identification documents.
From approximately 2001 to 2012, the Ng’s assisted customers in taking the written New York State commercial driver’s license examination by providing the answers to test takers, according to the Office of Inspector General.
It said many of the driving school’s customers did not speak or write in English, while the school routinely provided certain customers with covert camera equipment prior to taking the CDL exam, which was viewed remotely. This enabled the defendants to provide the test answers to the customers through a pre-arranged pager mechanism. It is estimated that as many as 500 CDL applicants passed the exam as a result of this scheme.
As part of their guilty pleas, the Ngs agreed to a forfeiture of $125,000 in cash, forfeited assets of $50,645 in seized bank funds, and a 2004 Toyota Sienna used in the commission of the crime.
In 2012 the couple pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud conspiracy involving the same scam.
There was no indication from the Office of Inspector as to whether they have been sentenced following the 2012 guilty plea or when they will be sentenced following this latest plea.