TRENTON, N.J. — A former clerk for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) was sentenced to prison on Friday for allegedly operating a scheme that involved fraudulent school bus driver licenses, the state attorney general said.
According to prosecutors, Rodman Lora, 39, who worked as a clerk at the MVC agency in Lodi, accepted tens of thousands of dollars in payments in return for allowing more than 200 people to obtain permits and licenses without passing required exams.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced on Friday that Lora was sentenced by a superior court judge to seven years in state prison, including two years and four months of parole ineligibility. Lora had pleaded guilty on April 16 to charges of conspiracy (second degree), computer criminal activity (second degree), and tampering with public records (third degree).
Investigators found that Lora altered MVC driver records for more than 200 people between 2014 and 2016, enabling them to obtain various permits and licenses without having passed the mandatory written or driving exams. That included commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) with school bus and hazmat endorsements. In return, Lora allegedly received cash payments averaging more than $700 per license or permit.
Grewal, the attorney general, also said that three other men previously pleaded guilty to third-degree tampering with public records in connection with the scheme, and they were also sentenced on Friday.
Luis Tiburcio, 46, was allegedly paid to act as a “runner” for Lora and bring him customers. He was sentenced to three years in state prison.
Masood Ahmadi, 55, the owner of northern New Jersey school bus company Ideal Transportation, allegedly sent people seeking CDLs to Lora to obtain licenses through the scheme. Prosecutors said that included relatives and people who were seeking employment with Ahmadi’s company. He was sentenced to three years of probation.
Mark Hingston, 55, a private security guard at the Lodi MVC agency, was accused of obtaining a CDL with an endorsement after Lora entered passing exam scores for him. He received two years of probation and 100 hours of community service.
“The illegal brokering and sale of driver’s licenses compromises public safety and security on multiple levels, by allowing unqualified drivers to share our roadways and by enabling criminals to steal identities and use false identities to commit crimes,” Grewal said. “The MVC has enhanced its technology and programs to prevent this type of fraud, and we will continue to collaborate with them to investigate and aggressively prosecute those responsible.”
Veronica Allende, director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, added that the investigation led to charges against a total of 70 people, “including many defendants who illegally obtained licenses through this scheme.”
Grewal said that the MVC uncovered the alleged scheme involving Lora and referred the case to the Division of Criminal Justice after an initial internal investigation and audit.