TRENTON – A former clerk at the Lodi Motor Vehicle Agency and a second clerk from the North Bergen Motor Vehicle Agency pleaded guilty today to participating in criminal rings that illegally sold New Jersey digital driver’s licenses to unauthorized persons, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced.
Anne Marie Manfredonia, 44, of Little Ferry, a former clerk in the Lodi Motor Vehicle Agency, pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree conspiracy and third-degree tampering with public records before Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma in Bergen County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that she be sentenced to four years in state prison, including two years of parole ineligibility. She will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.
Cristian J. Toledo, 33, of North Bergen, a former clerk at the North Bergen Motor Vehicle Agency, pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree computer theft before Superior Court Judge Paul M. DePascale in Hudson County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that he be sentenced to four years in state prison. He will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.
“These MVC clerks betrayed the public’s trust in order to enrich themselves,” said General Chiesa. “New Jersey digital driver’s licenses are a powerful form of identification, used to open bank accounts and board airliners, and we cannot afford to have them sold on the black market to potential criminals, or even terrorists. We are working diligently with the Motor Vehicle Commission to maintain the integrity of our system of security checks.”
“These defendants were among six Motor Vehicle Commission clerks we indicted late last year for allegedly conspiring with brokers and other middle men to illegally sell driver’s licenses to foreign nationals who did not have the required identification documents,” said Stephen J. Taylor, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We are continuing with our prosecutions of those clerks and 34 alleged co-conspirators we indicted with them.”
In pleading guilty, Manfredonia and Toledo admitted that they conspired with brokers to sell New Jersey digital driver’s licenses to customers who did not have the required six points of identification. Those two clerks were among 40 defendants named in indictments unsealed on Dec. 5, 2011, which also alleged conspiracies to illegally sell driver’s licenses out of the East Orange, Edison and Jersey City motor vehicle agencies.
In some cases, the customers, who are foreign nationals, did not qualify for a license because they were in the U.S. illegally. In other cases, they lacked sufficient documentation. The customers paid between $2,500 and $7,000 for a license or license renewal, and the MVC clerks and brokers split the proceeds. The indictments resulted from joint investigations by the Division of Criminal Justice, Motor Vehicle Commission and New Jersey State Police.
The indictment that charged Manfredonia also named an alleged broker, Hildeberto Salinas, 44, of Carlstadt, and 14 customers who allegedly purchased digital driver’s licenses from Manfredonia and Salinas without having the required identification documents. Charges are pending against the other defendants in the indictment, and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Toledo was the sole defendant named in his indictment.
The investigations were conducted by members of the Division of Criminal Justice MVC Unit, within the Specialized Crimes Bureau; the Motor Vehicle Commission’s Division of Security, Investigation and Internal Audit; and the New Jersey State Police Auto Unit Document Fraud Squad.
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