NJ MVC Worker Let Unqualified Drivers Get School Bus Licenses
A former Motor Vehicle Commission clerk was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison for a scheme in which he took tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from people seeking driving permits and licenses.
Among the 200 people who got the driving endorsements without passing the required exams were school bus and HazMat drivers, state prosecutors said.
Rodman Lora, 39, of Ridgewood, New York, pleaded guilty in April to second-degree conspiracy, second-degree computer criminal activity and third-degree tampering with public records.
Lora, who worked in the MVC office in Lodi, was busted long before the fatal Paramus school bus crash last month in Mount Olive, which brought attention to school bus safety and driver qualifications.
Caught in the MVC investigation was the owner of a school bus company who sent unqualified relatives and employees to Lora to get licenses, prosecutors said. Masood Ahmadi, 55, of Lake Hiawatha, was sentenced to three years of probation.
State prosecutors said Lora gave his own brother, Jose Lora, 45, of Newark, a commercial driver’s license. Jose Lora pleaded guilty and will be on probation.
Among the 70 people who have been charged in this investigation:
Carlos Vicuna, 37, of Elizabeth, a “runner” in the scheme, will get probation.
Luis Tiburcio, 46, of Passaic, who was paid to act as a “runner” and bring Lora customers, was sentenced to three years in prison.
Mark Hingston, 55, of Toms River, who worked as a private security guard at the Lodi MVC agency, was sentenced to two years probation and 100 hours of community service for getting a commercial driver’s license with an endorsement from Lora.
Ten people have pleaded guilty and 56 have been admitted into pre-trial intervention, which allows them to avoid a prison sentence or a criminal conviction as long as they remain out of trouble for a few years.
MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton credited her staff for “uncovering these bad apples and helping to root them out of a great organization full of hard-working, honest people dedicated to serving millions of New Jerseyans on a daily basis.”
“This case is a prime example of our efforts to weed out fraud and abuse and enhance security throughout the entire organization,” Fulton said Friday in a prepared statement.