A 52-year-old Corona man was sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison Monday for his part in a scam to sell bogus identification out of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Jose Cruz, who pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to produce illegal ID documents and identity theft, was sentenced to 34 months in federal prison, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Kole. He will be placed on three years of supervised release when he is out of prison.
Co-defendant Tracey Lynette Jones, 35, of Long Beach, who worked as a field representative in the agency’s El Monte office, pleaded guilty last month to illegally producing ID documents.
From July 2012 through August 2013, Jones helped produce phony driver’s licenses by entering bogus information into the DMV system, according to her plea agreement.
Jones altered records to make sure several applicants passed written, vision or driving tests they either failed or didn’t take, according to her plea deal. She did so eight times, according to the plea.
Jones is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 11.
Cruz acknowledged that he and other conspirators obtained genuine Social Security numbers of Puerto Rican residents to be sold to people wishing to obtain state identification cards and driver’s licenses, according to his plea deal.
Cruz and another co-defendant met with an undercover agent in July 2012 who was posing as a customer who wanted to buy a fake ID. Cruz said he would take the agent to a DMV office in Riverside.
Later, the agent met with Cruz and another co-defendant who provided the customer with a Puerto Rican birth certificate and Social Security number and then told to see a DMV clerk who was in on the scam, according to the plea. The undercover agent paid $3,100.
Cruz also met with another undercover agent in August 2012 in Riverside when he said he had “connections” with the DMV in Riverside and Fullerton, according to the plea agreement.
“As part of this scheme and common course of conduct, at least seven fraudulent California ID cards or driver’s licenses were obtained in the names of actual people other than the applicant, which actual people had been born in Puerto Rico,” according to the agreement.
Three other defendants are awaiting trial in May and one defendant is a fugitive, said Thom Mrozek, the public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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