FRESNO, Calif. — The owner of a Bakersfield, California, truck-driving school has been sentenced to for his role in a conspiracy to sell California commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) to unqualified drivers, according to U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott.
On Friday, June 12, U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd sentenced Paramjit Singh Mangat, 56, of Bakersfield, to 14 months in prison and a $10,000 fine for his conviction on one count of unlawful production of an identification document and aiding and abetting. The court also finalized an order for forfeiture of $100,000 that had been seized as proceeds from the fraud scheme.
According to court documents, Mangat operated driving schools in Bakersfield that ostensibly provided training to people seeking to obtain driver’s licenses, including Akal Truck Driving School and Akal Driving School. When students had difficulty passing DMV examinations, Mangat offered to assist those students in obtaining fraudulently issued, yet official, licenses in exchange for money, through Mangat’s contact Javier Jesus Hernandez-Herrera, 56, who was then a DMV employee.
According to court documents, from about June 2012 through Aug. 24, 2016, Mangat conspired with Herrera, then a licensing registration examiner at a DMV office in Bakersfield. In return for monetary payment, Herrera agreed to access the students’ DMV records and alter the records to reflect that the individuals had passed DMV written and/or behind-the-wheel examinations, when, in fact, the individuals had not passed one or more required DMV tests. Herrera’s alteration of the records resulted in the DMV issuing a California driver’s license and mailing it to those individuals.
Herrera pleaded guilty Nov. 12, 2019, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 14, 2020. Herrera faces a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 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.
This case was the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the California DMV, Investigations Division Office of Internal Affairs. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Z. Carbajal III and David L. Gappa are prosecuting the case.
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