Man Admits Issuing Hundreds of Fake Texas CDLs to “Mostly Immigrant Applicants”
San Antonio, TX – A former Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) official pleaded guilty last month to charges alleging he took bribes in exchange for issuing fraudulent commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs).
On February 13, 2020, in the U.S. District Court of Western District of Texas, Alonzo Blackman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and honest services fraud connected to a more than two-year long scheme to issue fraudulent CDLs.
According to case documents, Blackman, a former TxDPS CDL skills examiner, admitted he conspired with truck drivers Marino Maury Diaz Leon and Fernando Guardado Vazquez, both Cuban citizens residing in Texas, to fraudulently issue CDLs from January 1, 2017 until June 30, 2019.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the fake CDLs were given to “mostly immigrant applicants,” and more specifically, Cuban citizens residing in the U.S., who “failed to pass or even take the skills portion of the required testing.”
Additionally, authorities say Diaz Leon and Vazquez paid Blackman “tens of thousands of dollars” during the course of the conspiracy.
All three men were indicted in July of 2019, following a TxDPS audit in December 2018 which found that Blackman “had an unusual number of CDLs being issued.”
Court documents show that of the 215 CDLs identified to have been fraudulently issued, 197 went to Cuban nationals, 11 to U.S. citizens, one to a Dominican Republic national, one to an Ethiopian, one to an Iraqi, one to a Puerto Rican, one to a Ukraine national and two to Mexican nationals.
TxDPS officials have since revoked each of the CDLs alleged to have been unlawfully obtained.
However, the full extent of the conspiracy may not yet be known.
In August of 2019, TxDPS released a statement admitting more fraudulent CDLs could have been issued in the scheme and it was continuing to investigate the matter.
Plus, in a statement released just last month, the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) said its investigation is also ongoing with the help of the FBI and DPS Texas Rangers Division.
Blackman is scheduled to be sentenced on May 13, 2020.
However, he is hoping to be given a more lenient sentence for helping investigators obtain videotaped evidence of Diaz Leon and Vazquez paying the alleged bribes.
All three men were originally charged with one count of conspiracy to produce identification documents without lawful authority, one count of conspiracy to transfer identification documents without lawful authority, and conspiracy to commit mail and honest services fraud.
Diaz Leon and Vazquez have pleaded Not Guilty, but a plea agreement hearing is scheduled for April 9, 2020.
READ more about the alleged fraud scheme HERE.