Nearly a year after a Virginia DMV worker and two others were convicted of selling drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, the 100-plus buyers remain at large. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will say only that the investigation “is ongoing.”
DMV spokeswoman Pam Goheen said, “It is my understanding that the licenses had ‘limited duration validity’ and have expired.”
A vote-watch organization says the official answers don’t inspire confidence. Said Reagan George, president of the Virginia Voters Alliance:
The expiration date on the licenses means [the authorities] probably know who these people are. It still begs the question of how many illegals are registered to vote and have voted.
I’m getting tired of bureaucrats either not doing their jobs, or slow-rolling investigations hoping the public will forget and lose interest when the next shiny object shows up in the news.
The buyers reportedly paid up to $3,000 per license in the scheme that ran from 2007 to 2011.
Court documents revealed that Maria Cavallaro, working at a DMV office in Fairfax, Va, issued driver’s licenses, learner’s permits and identification cards even though she knew the applicants could not prove legal presence in the United States.
Cavallaro pleaded guilty to accepting bribes — and got off easy. U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema sentenced her to 15 days in jail, followed by two years of probation. Cavallaro could have received up to 10 years in prison.
Jose Calderon and Noemi Barboza, both of Sterling, Va., brought the buyers to Cavallaro. Calderon was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years’ probation; Barboza got two years’ probation.
“After Calderon collected cash from ineligible applicants, he and Barboza provided Cavallaro a portion of the money to induce her to falsely verify that the ineligible applicants had produced documentation necessary to establish eligibility for issuance of the requested DMV documents,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
An FBI “public corruption unit” led the investigation, said Andrew Ames, spokesman for the bureau’s Washington, D.C., field office.
The illegal sale of driver’s licenses is a coast-to-coast problem, with recent cases popping up from New Jersey to California. According to said Dana Boente, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia:
Schemes that trade cash for DMV documents undermine the enforcement of our immigration laws and potentially threaten public safety.
Encouraging the public to expose potential criminal activity, the FBI’s D.C. field office has set up a Northern Virginia Public Corruption Hotline at (703) 686-6225 and e-mail at NOVAPC@ic.fbi.gov.
Read more by Kenric Ward at Watchdog.com.