More CDLs suspended in Colorado investigation

| 2/25/2005

Colorado has suspended 74 more CDLs as it continues its investigation into questionable licenses, The Denver Post reported Feb. 25.

The majority of the 74 suspended CDLs were issued by workers at the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles who had not been implicated in a continuing federal investigation, the newspaper reported.

The CDL scandal in the state started after an explosive series of investigative reports in The Denver Post. The newspaper revealed that two former DMV workers were charged for conspiring to sell unauthorized Colorado driver licenses, including CDLs, to ineligible people.

Michael Cooke, executive director of the state’s Department of Revenue, ordered officials in her department to review of all 124,488 commercial driver’s licenses issued by the state to see whether false information was used to obtain them.

Colorado officials recently confirmed they were planning to take their effort as far as a statewide sweep at the state’s 20 weigh stations.

The state sent 250 cancellation letters out to CDL holders who received their licenses through the two former DMV workers. CDL holders were informed that their licenses and driving privileges were immediately revoked, and that they needed to provide evidence that their information is correct to have driving privileges restored.

The Post reported that the latest series of revoked licenses resulted after officials started to investigate possible illegal CDL sales linked to other employees in the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

Investigators told the newspaper that some of the employees in the newest portion of the investigation knew each other and may be communicating about the sale of driver’s licenses.

Diane Reimer, a public information officer with the Department of Revenue, told Land Line that the state’s immediate goal is to see that truckers driving with improperly obtained CDLs are off the road.

“Some licenses were sold in this fraudulent effort to some folks who shouldn’t have had them,” Reimer said. “Either they were illegal immigrants, or whatever, and we’re just trying to address that.”

The searches initially focused on making sure names matched the Social Security numbers used to obtain the CDLs; however, Reimer said the state would look for anything in license information “that doesn’t quite jibe.”

“If we’re going to really make sure that the truckers who are licensed in Colorado and who are on the roads are qualified to be on the roads, then we need to carry it this far,” she said. “It’s a massive effort. We have this obligation to the public.”

The problem is not limited to Colorado. Federal DOT Inspector General Kenneth M. Mead said in a recent news release that in the past five years, the federal agency has participated in the investigation and prosecution of CDL fraud schemes in 21 states.

During that period, more than 75 multiagency investigations found more than 8,000 CDLs issued to drivers through corrupt state or state-approved testing processes.