Instructor sentenced in massive New York City CDL test-taking fraud

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A New York man has been sentenced for his role in a fraudulent CDL scheme that involved fake tests and the cooperation of several people working at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Jose Payano, 44, of Brooklyn, who also went by Polo, was sentenced to 28 months in prison and three years of supervised release, according to court documents. Noted in an Office of Inspector General press release, the judge handed down the harsh sentence by citing Payano as a threat to public safety.

Court documents reveal that 11 people were indicted in October 2013 for a CDL test-taking scheme in New York City. CDL applicants paid for a cheating service where they were told to leave the DMV with uncompleted tests that would be completed by Marie Daniel, a co-defendant in the case. Security guards who were co-conspirators in the scheme would allow those who paid for the service to leave the testing area.

Payano was one of five defendants who helped instruct the CDL applicants with the aid of DMV security guards. More specifically, Payano transported the tests of the applicants to Marie Daniel.

Land Line reported on Jan. 23 that Marie Daniel pleaded guilty to one count of attempt and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Daniel’s sentence hearing was scheduled for April 24.

Applicants paid facilitators between $1,800 and $2,500 for CDL exam answers and escort assistance through DMV processes, according to the Office of Inspector General. The assistance provided to applicants included pencils that contained encoded test answers, Bluetooth headsets that relayed answers, and an external test-taker who was positioned nearby to take the exams.

An investigation found that five New York State DMV test centers were being used for the fraudulent CDL test schemes, the Office of Inspector General noted. Surveillance operations, including the use of remote observation posts and pole-cameras, identified the defendants participating in the fraud scheme, including DMV security personnel, an external test-taker, facilitators, “runners,” and lookouts.

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.

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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