FRESNO, Calif. -
A Madera man was sentenced to prison for conspiracy to illegally issue driver's licenses yesterday afternoon.
Victor Vasquez, 36, of Madera was sentenced today by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill to 18 months in prison for conspiracy to unlawfully produce and transfer identification documents, in a scheme to sell official California driver's licenses to ineligible individuals, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today. Vasquez is one of 13 defendants to be convicted in a case that a federal grand jury indicted in August 2011.
According to court documents, between approximately September 2006 and January 2011, Alfonso Casarez, 50, of Fresno, a technician for the California Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) at the DMV field office on Olive Avenue in Fresno, California, was issuing genuine California driver licenses to individuals who had not taken DMV required tests to qualify for a license, in return for cash payments. The scheme required that a license recipient submit a driver license application at any California DMV office. Once Casarez had possession of the driver license number assigned to the recipient’s application, and a cash payment, he would electronically access the recipient’s driver license record and alter that record to reflect the passage of required DMV tests the recipient either never took or previously failed. After Casarez altered the electronic DMV records to falsely reflect passage of all required tests, the DMV would automatically issue and mail a genuine driver license to the recipient. Casarez’s sister, Rosemary Fierros, 47, of Madera, would pass along to Casarez potential license recipients’ DMV application information and a portion of the recipients’ cash payments, while retaining a portion of the payments for herself. Rosemary Fierros elicited the assistance of defendant Victor Vasquez in recruiting new driver license recipients. Vasquez, in turn, elicited new recipients through word of mouth advertising and also established a network of recruiters working under him to bring in potential recipients. Vasquez admitted to assisting in illegally issuing numerous commercial vehicle and passenger car licenses during the course of the scheme.
On February 19, 2013, Alfonso Casarez pleaded guilty for his involvement in the conspiracy. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 10, 2013. On March 1, 2013, Rosemary Fierros was found guilty by a jury in federal court of 31 felony criminal counts in connection with the charged scheme. She is scheduled to be sentenced on May 20, 2013.