Lodi News-Sentinel

Former DMV worker pleads guilty to bribery scheme charges

- Andrew Sheeler

A former California Department of Motor Vehicles employee pleaded guilty Thursday to charges related to a scheme to provide unqualifie­d drivers their California commercial driver’s licenses.

Shawana Denise Harris, 52, of Rancho Cucamonga, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, to commit unauthoriz­ed access of a computer and to commit identity fraud.

Harris was working as a DMV employee in Rancho Cucamonga when she was charged in November 2017 with conspiring to receive bribes in exchange for accessing and altering DMV records located in the department’s Sacramento database.

“During the scheme, Harris altered records to show that applicants for California CDLs had passed the required tests when, in truth, they had not done so, and in some cases had not even taken the tests. In so doing, this caused the DMV to issue permits and completed California CDLs despite the applicants not having taken or passed those tests,” according to a statement from U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California Phillip Talbert’s office.

Harris is scheduled to be sentenced July 28; she faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, though the actual sentence is at the discretion of the court and will account for a number of variables.

The investigat­ion into Harris was completed by the DMV Office of Internal Affairs, the FBI, Homeland Security Investigat­ions and the Department of Transporta­tion’s Office of the Inspector General.

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