Two truckers bribed Texas DPS employee to issue 215 fake CDLs
July 18, 2019
Two truckers have been charged for bribing a Texas Department of Public Safety employee to fraudulently issue more than 200 CDLs, according to federal court documents. The employee raked in tens of thousands of dollars from the scheme.
On June 28, Fernando Guardado Vazquez, 40, and Marino Maury Diaz-Leon, 52, were indicted on federal fraud charges in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. FBI Special Agent Monroe Giese filed the criminal complaint.
According to the complaint, from January 2017 through May 2019, the two men paid a DPS employee to falsely certify that some CDL applicants passed their skills test despite never taking the test.
An unnamed “cooperating defendant” then entered the false information into the database after receiving bribes of approximately $1,000 per CDL from Vazquez and Diaz-Leon.
A DPS driver’s license supervisor raised red flags in December 2018. She notified her superiors of an unusually high number of skills test being conducted by the cooperating defendant who worked in the San Antonio office. The tests were not scheduled through the proper procedure.
Surveillance video reveals the employee sitting in his office when he was supposedly administering the skills tests in question. In January, a Texas Ranger looked into four of the CDL tests. The Ranger discovered missing scheduled testing using Texas Scheduler, the absence of the tested person at the physical site, the overlap of testing times and lack of authentic signatures from the tested persons.
When questioned by authorities, the DPS employee said he was first approached by Vazquez in 2017. Vazquez had followed him home from the DPS office, flashing his headlights to get the DPS employee’s attention. Vazquez told the employee that they could make money issuing fake CDLs.
After agreeing to $1,000 per CDL, the DPS employee was given a temporary phone. Vazquez would send him information on the phone of people wanting a CDL. The phone was also used to arrange meetings to swap CDLs for cash. The burner phones were replaced every three to four months.
Not long after being approached by Vazquez, the DPS employee was approached by Diaz-Leon, who offered him to take part in the same scheme as Vazquez. Diaz-Leon approached the employee at a convenience store near the DPS office. Like the deal with Vazquez, the DPS employee would receive $1,000 for each fraudulent CDL.
Both Vazquez and Diaz-Leon are legal U.S. residents of Cuban descent. Each of the defendants has lived in the U.S. for only a few years.
When Diaz-Leon was arrested during a sting operation, he asked federal law enforcement officers if he could “just be deported back to Cuba” rather than face federal criminal charges, according to court documents. If convicted, both men face deportation or up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
As of publication time, no plea agreements have been entered.