By Sharon Bernstein
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Three employees of the California Department of Motor Vehicles have been indicted for accepting bribes to grant commercial driving licenses, and the owners of three trucking schools indicted for offering the bribes, federal officials said on Tuesday.
The scheme involved payments of up to $5,000 to middlemen who then passed money to DMV employees to grant licenses to drivers who had not taken or passed the tests required to drive big-rig commercial trucks, according to documents released by the Benjamin Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.
"The brokers use the individual's money to bribe DMV employees to circumvent or falsely enter informatino into the DMV computer systems," FBI investigators said in a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Sacramento.
Those accused in the case include DMV employees Andrew Kimura, Emma Klem and Robert Turchin, as well as truck-driving school owners Pavitar Dosangh Singh, Kulwinder Dosanjh Singh and Mangal Gill, according to the indictment by a federal grand jury made public on Tuesday as well as other court documents.
The driving schools had operations in several northern and central California cities, including Sacramento, Salinas and Fresno, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Charges included conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit identity fraud, fraud and bribery.
Wagner was set to release more details of the case on Tuesday afternoon, his office said.
(Editing by Lisa Lambert)