Two plead guilty in Florida CDL fraud scheme

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Two Florida men recently pled guilty for their part in a commercial driver’s license fraud scheme involving a clerk for the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Sergeui Leon and Eric Hernandez-Suarez pled guilty March 11 in U.S. District Court in Tampa to wire fraud, according to the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General.

Leon and Hernandez-Suarez were arrested — along with Gustavo Soler (a.k.a. “Tao”) and Santos Alamo — in January for their alleged roles in the scheme. DOT-OIG said its investigation disclosed that the subjects conspired to pay bribes to Yolanda Pippins, an employee of the Florida DMV whose responsibility was to monitor CDL applicants and ensure their qualifications before she issued a CDL. Once Pippins received a monetary bribe, she used her employment position to issue fraudulent CDLs to individuals who did not have the requisite training and documentation to support their qualifications, according to DOT-OIG.

Pippins pled guilty on Aug. 11, 2006, to conspiracy to accept bribes in exchange for the issuance of fraudulent CDLs. The state DMV sent letters to all 144 individuals who obtained CDLs via Pippins asking that these individuals return to the DMV to ensure that the applications were processed properly or else have their CDL revoked; subsequently, 139 CDLs were revoked.

DOT-OIG’s investigation was conducted jointly with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles.