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California DMV worker admits to handing out CDLs in exchange for bribes

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A former California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employee has pleaded guilty in connection with a fraudulent Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) scheme.

On September 19, Ulises Pena, 39, pleaded guilty to illegally producing California CDLs in Bakersfield exchange for bribes, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.

Authorities say that between January 2015 through August 2016, Pena wrongfully aided struggling CDL students from co-defendant Bikramjit Singh Pannu’s truck driving school.

Pena allegedly accessed student records through the DMV system and altered them to show that the students had passed their written tests when they had not actually passed.

“His alterations caused the fraudulent issuance of CDLs to the unqualified students,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Pena has agreed to cooperate with the government in its ongoing case against Pannu. Charges against Pannu are pending.

The maximum penalty that Pena could face is is 15 years in a prison and a $250,000 fine, but “the actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.”

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