Salinas DMV employee traded drivers’ licenses for bribes

August 11, 2015

DMV lineA Salinas DMV employee pled guilty Tuesday for her part in a conspiracy to sell class A commercial driver’s licenses to people who had not passed the required tests. Five other people, including two DMV employees, were charged in a 17‑count indictment unsealed Friday, according to a Department of Justice press release.

From June 2011 through March 2015, three owners of truck driving schools took money from people who wanted commercial driver’s licenses and did not want to take and pass the required written and behind-the-wheel driving tests. The driving school owners then used the money to bribe DMV employees to submit false information through DMV computers.

On Tuesday, Salinas DMV employee Emma Klem, 45, and trucking school owner Kulwinder Dosanjh Singh, aka Sodhi Singh, 58, of Turlock, plead guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and to commit identity fraud. Klem and Sodhi Singh face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.

As part of the guilty pleas entered this morning, Sodhi Singh admitted accepting money to bribe DMV employees to obtain licenses for individuals. DMV employee Emma Klem admitted changing DMV data to indicate that those individuals had passed behind-the-wheel tests, when in fact they had never taken the test.

The number of driver’s licenses issued as a result of the scheme could number over 100, according to court documents. The DMV has already canceled or revoked a number of licenses that appear to have been fraudulently procured.

Friday’s indictment charges trucking school owners Pavitar Dosangh Singh, aka Peter Singh, 55, of Sacramento; and Mangal Gill, 55, of San Ramon; and DMV examiners Andrew Kimura, 30, of Sacramento; and Robert Turchin, 65, of Salinas, with conspiracy, bribery, and fraud in connection with identification documents. The indictment specifically references the involvement of Klem and Sodhi Singh.

“These investigations and the criminal charges they produced send a very clear and loud message that the Department of Motor Vehicles takes fraud and illegal activity very seriously, and it is absolutely not tolerated,” stated Frank Alvarez, Chief Investigator, California Department of Motor Vehicles. “DMV has already taken action and cancelled or revoked a number of licenses that appear to have been obtained through fraudulent means.”

These cases are the product of investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ Investigations Division and the Office of Internal Affairs.

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10 Comments

  1. justbeware says:

    I went to the DMV once and the clerk told me to come back on Nov 31. I tried explaining there was no Nov 31. She continued to explain that 6 months from May 31 is Nov 31, so that’s when I should return. When I asked if it would be ok to come on Nov 30 rather than Dec 1, she became more insistent that N-O-V 3-1-s-t was THE day to return, not the day before, not the day after. Only when she checked a calendar did she understand why I kept questioning her.

    30 days hath September, April, June and November…

    (15) 15 Total Votes - 15 up - 0 down
  2. Jorge Estrada says:

    The DMV should go back to lines so that the service perspective remains accurate. It has turned into an airline terminal operation, gates G2 and B7 are up! This is easier for us wait for free customers. On a good note, they may start showing movies too?

    (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down
  3. honest abe says:

    I recently was going to hire driver who just received his class A license in Salinas.

    I took him out for a test drive….but found out that he can’t drive !!! the guy can’t drive a big rig and I was shocked that he passed his driving test in a big rig.

    I asked him to back up the truck which was parked on an empty street and he couldn’t even do it. I had to do it.

    I then drove with him for about a mile and we needed to turn left onto a cross street. There was no on coming traffic but he stopped the truck completely in the left turn lane, down shifted into 1st gear and waited about a minute before he started his left turn (still no on coming traffic).
    He then asked me to take over. I let him go…

    I speculated then that there was a pay off and it seems I was right.

    (23) 25 Total Votes - 24 up - 1 down
  4. CentralcoastRN says:

    The scary thing is that this isn’t just “regular” class C licenses; this is Class A, big rig truck licenses they were faking. So these guys could be driving double tankers with fossil fuels down a busy California 4 lane hwy without passing the property testing. These DMV employees endanger us all when they behave in this manner, and as such, should face the harshest penalties allowed by law.

    (26) 28 Total Votes - 27 up - 1 down
  5. Scott says:

    No surprises here, SLO DMV was the subject of the very same issue 4 years ago with Garcia. This is SOP as usual with corruption on the increase.

    Tomorrow AJ Santana is supposed to be arraigned in SLO Superior court only after i filed complaints with not only the Local DA two years ago but the State AG . It will be interesting to see if he rolls on his co-horts in the corruption probe of the disgraced NTF/GTF/SET/MTF and oh so many more. Including corrupt X Chief Gesell and his comrades in lies . Including those in the Sheriffs Dept.

    (23) 23 Total Votes - 23 up - 0 down
    • mkaney says:

      They may be disgraced and may have been officially disbanded but they are still operating on an interagency basis and they are still doing the exact same things. They keep it out of the press, but I’ve even witnessed them in action down the street from me several months ago.. big raid, guns drawn, but news blackout.

      (14) 16 Total Votes - 15 up - 1 down
  6. Pelican1 says:

    YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK!

    (23) 29 Total Votes - 26 up - 3 down
    • unlisted says:

      No, this the PRIVATE sector at work, buying favors from the public sector. DMV, building inspectors, sports stadiums, wall street… It’s all the same. Both sides should be strung up.

      (-6) 24 Total Votes - 9 up - 15 down
      • achillesheal says:

        If you string up the entire private and public sectors then only the unemployed are left in America. The whole country will become like an episode of naked and afraid.

        (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
        • unlisted says:

          Well, DUH! Only the corrupt crooks should be strung up.

          (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down

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