Two women and a man in Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty to fraud charges regarding tests for commercial driver licenses, according to two federal agencies.
They were prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the eastern district of New York in two separate cases. Two judges in Brooklyn are scheduled to sentence the defendants in April, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors said.
In announcing the plea deals completed in January, the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation said some would-be drivers paid $1,800 to $2,500 each for help to cheat on tests. The cheating was done with techniques including Bluetooth headsets, covert cameras and miniature crib sheets.
Six people previously indicted for similar charges are scheduled for trial Feb. 9 before the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, said Nellin McIntosh, the prosecutors' spokeswoman.
Husband and wife Ying Wai Phillip Ng and Pui Kuen Ng pleaded guilty in their roles as owners and operators of CDL school N&Y Professional Service Line in Brooklyn. The OIG statement said many of the school’s students did not speak or write English, a necessary skill for holding a CDL.
CDLs are required for drivers of Classes 7-8 trucks and large buses.
Test-takers in the testing hall sent images of the tests to remote test-takers via covert cameras that N&Y gave students. The test takers then got answers via pagers, OIG said.
The IG’s office said as many as 500 applicants passed the exams in this way.
The Ngs pleaded guilty to similar charges in 2012, but federal Judge Leo Glasser vacated their pleas and convictions from that year on jurisdictional grounds, said McIntosh after speaking with an assistant U.S. attorney working on the case.
McIntosh said the most recent activity is similar to that of 2012.
“The Ngs used the same cheating scheme with hundreds of test-takers over the previous 10-plus years,” she said.
Separately, Marie Daniel pleaded guilty for a similar type of activity. Another OIG statement said Daniel used “pencils containing miniaturized encoded test answers” and Bluetooth headsets to connect with an external test-taker. She received $1,800 to $2,500 from test-takers, OIG said.
Daniel was indicted in October 2013, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Of the 10 others, four have signed plea deals and six will go to trial in February, prosecutors said.
In addition to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and OIG, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the New York Attorney General’s Office and the New York City Police Department participated in the investigations.
The U.S. attorney for New York’s eastern district is Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to be the next U.S. attorney general.