Two former California Highway Patrol officers were arraigned Monday on charges they accepted bribes totaling $35,000 in exchange for allegedly falsifying documents to register exotic “gray market” cars.
James Yao Kuo, 38, and Jessie Anthony Carrillo, 49, are charged with conspiracy and three counts each of accepting a bribe in connection with the scheme.
Attorney General Rob Bonta said officers must be held accountable.
“CHP officers are charged with keeping our roads and the people of California safe and secure. Any law enforcement officer who abuses that authority for their own personal gain should be held accountable,” Bonta said in a statement.
“Bribery is a serious crime, and there is no place for these alleged acts in California law enforcement.”
The “gray” market refers to vehicles manufactured and imported from outside the U.S. In many cases, it is illegal to drive these cars in California, because they fail to meet state safety or emissions standards and can’t be registered.
Prosecutors said the two former officers conspired to alter Department of Motor Vehicle and Carfax resale documents for two such gray market cars in exchange for $35,000.
The allegations were investigated by the CHP after an ex-girlfriend of Kuo’s told them she knew about the scheme, according to the criminal complaint, which was filed on Jan. 19 by the California Department of Justice.
The two men self-surrendered to deputies at the San Dimas Sheriff’s Station six days later, according to statement from Bonta and jail records. They posted bond of $25,000 each.
Information on Monday’s arraignment and plea was not immediately available.