Josh Richman, Daily Review (Oakland), Nov. 29
A former state Department of Motor Vehicles worker pleaded guilty Monday to helping people, including undocumented immigrants, get bogus driver’s licenses and state identification cards in return for cash bribes.
Frances Aliganga, 53, of Fairfield entered guilty pleas to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud and one count of aiding and abetting honest services mail fraud, punishable by five and 20 years in federal prison, respectively. Each conviction also can carry a fine of up to $250,000.
A federal grand jury indictment handed up July 14 but sealed until August claimed Aliganga conspired with Veronica Rivera, 53, of Daly City in a cash-for-licenses scam at the DMV’s Claremont Avenue office in Oakland from November 2003 to June 2005.
The indictment claimed Rivera offered illegal immigrants licenses or ID cards for $3,000 to $4,500 cash apiece. She’s accused of providing real but fraudulently obtained Social Security numbers for them to use, arranging for them to meet Aliganga and keeping about half the money for herself.
Aliganga, a licensing and registration examiner, then granted the people licenses, the indictment says. She’s accused of noting they had provided proof of legal presence when they had not; entering bogus Social Security numbers for some; and issuing licenses to people who had never taken written or driving tests.
The pair’s conspiracy led to about 200 bogus licenses and ID cards being issued, the indictment claimed. Assistant U.S. Attorney W. Douglas Sprague characterized the number Monday as “at least scores of fraudulent driver’s licenses.”