Ulises Pena, 39, a former state Department of Motor Vehicles employee in Bakersfield, pleaded guilty Monday to illegally producing California commercial driver’s licenses in exchange for bribes, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced in Fresno.
Pena’s guilty plea came as part of his agreement to cooperate with federal prosecutors against co-defendant Bikramjit Singh Pannu, who owns a truck driving school.
Bribes Involve Written Tests
According to court records, Pena was responsible for processing driver’s license applications. From January 2015 through August 2016, he arranged for passing grades on written tests for students from Pannu’s Skyway Truck Driving School in Bakersfield.
The DMV would then mail the student a Class A driver’s license, according to the charging documents.
In return for passing students who failed the tests, Pannu paid Pena, prosecutors said.
Homeland Security Investigations and the California DMV’s Internal Affairs Division investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Barton and David Gappa are the prosecutors.