The owner of a North Hollywood, California, truck driving school has been sentenced to prison for trying to bribe state Department of Transportation officials to give commercial drivers’ licenses to unqualified student drivers.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, on Dec. 5, 2019, Jagpal “Paul” Singh, the owner of the Calcutta Driving School, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Sacramento, California, to 39 months’ incarceration, 12 months’ supervised release, and a $200 special assessment fee. On March 4, 2019, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, identity fraud, and unauthorized use of a computer, as well as identification document fraud.
According to the DOT, Singh participated in a scheme to bribe California Department of Motor Vehicle employees to provide commercial driver’s licenses to unqualified drivers. According to court documents, he bribed two DMV employees, who also pleaded guilty. Lisa Terraciano was sentenced to three years and four months in prison, and Kari Scattaglia was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison. Their part in the scheme was to access the DMV’s database in Sacramento and alter the records for Singh’s students to show that CDL applicants had passed the required tests when they had not done so. In some cases, they had not even taken the tests. As a result, the DMV issued permits and CDLs to unqualified applicants.
According to reporting by the Los Angeles Times, an undercover agent posed as a truck driving student in September 2016 and offered Singh $1,500 in exchange for a Class A CDL.
Following Singh’s instructions, the agent deposited the money directly into Singh’s bank account, the document said. The agent had purposefully failed a written exam, but a DMV employee — identified in court records as Lisa Terraciano — accessed the DMV database and changed the score to passing.