Feds charge 11 in New York CDL testing scheme

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Friday, September 27, 2013

Federal prosecutors say a team of 11 individuals used a variety of methods to help commercial driver’s license applicants cheat on their exams at the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, including passing pencils with codes indicating correct answers to specific questions.

The 11 defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud in court documents unsealed last week in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y.  According to a news release from Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, the defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

According to prosecutors, defendants provided applicants in some cases with a pencil that displayed a series of dots and dashes on the pencil’s sides. The dots and dashes were codes for true and false answers for New York’s audio version of the CDL test.

In other instances, defendants in the case who worked as DMV security guards at offices in Queens, Long Island and Manhattan gave applicants signals to leave the DMV office with incomplete tests. Others involved in the scheme met the applicants outside the DMV offices and found someone to complete the test. The applicants would then re-enter the DMV office and submit the tests for grading.

Each applicant would pay $1,500 to $2,500 for cheating help, prosecutors said in the release.

“Between April 2013 and September 2013, the defendants enabled over 60 people to fraudulently obtain or attempt to obtain CDLs,” the release reads.

Catherine Scott, New York State Inspector General, said drivers who have “gamed the system will be off the road.”

“Truck drivers, many of whom are charged with transporting hazardous chemicals, are trained to drive several tons of cargo often through busy streets and highways,” Scott said in the release.

“Bus drivers take our children to school every day. These are among the serious responsibilities of anyone who acquires a commercial driver’s license. Our investigation uncovered numerous people who paid others thousands of dollars for answers to a test they could not answer without cheating, a scheme which undermined the system designed to ensure the security of our roads and communities.”

Defendants charged in the case are: Akmal Narzikulov, 28, of Brooklyn; Firdavs Mamadaliev, 22, of Brooklyn; Dale Harper, 48, of Bronx; Joachim Pierre Louis, 32, of Brooklyn; Latoya Bourne, 32, of Brooklyn; Marie Daniel, 47, of Queens Village; Luc Desmangles, 27, of Brooklyn;  Beayeah Karmara, 25, of Staten Island; Jose Payano, 44, of Brooklyn; Tanael Daniel, 36, of Brooklyn; and Inocente Rene Gonzalez-Martinez, 57, of Brooklyn.

Narzikulov, an ambulance worker, was reportedly the ring leader for the CDL scheme. He is being held in jail without bail.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Homeland Security Investigations; the U.S. Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General; the New York State Inspector General; the New York State Attorney General’s Office; the New York City Police Department, Internal Affairs Bureau; the New York County District Attorney’s Office; and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

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