LODI, N.J. – A former Lodi motor vehicle agency clerk will be sentenced to seven years in prison after admitting Monday that he collected thousands in dollars in bribes operating a ring that allowed 220 motorists -- including school bus drivers -- to obtain permit and licenses without having to take any tests.
Rodman Lora, 39, of Queens was among 70 people charged in a wide-ranging investigation. He admitted that he got an average of $700 per license or permit from 2014 to 2016.
Also pleading guilty Monday were:
- Luis Tiburcio, 46, of Passaic, who admitted that he was paid to work as a “runner” for Lora and bring him customers in the illegal scheme. He's facing three years in state prison as part of his deal with prosecutors;
- Masood Ahmadi, 55, of Lake Hiawatha, who sent people to Lora to obtain commercial licenses -- including relatives -- to drive school buses for his North Jersey-based company, Ideal Transportation.
Prosecutors offered him probation in exchange for his plea and cooperation.
“When motor vehicle clerks engage in fraud involving driver’s credentials, public safety is compromised,” Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said. “It is particularly alarming that school bus drivers were being licensed illegally."
Nine defendants were indicted with Lora, including the two who pleaded guilty Monday.
Two previously admitted tampering with public records and face probation: Carlos Vicuna, a 37-year-old runner from Elizabeth and Jose Lora, 45, of Newark, Lora’s brother, who received a commercial driver’s license without passing the written exam.
Four others were admitted into a Pre-Trial Intervention Program, which allows them to have their records expunged if they follow certain conditions for a set period, ordinarily a year.
Beyond the indictment charging those 10 defendants, the investigation led to charges against 60 other customers and runners, bringing the total defendants to 70.
Eight of those 60 pleaded guilty to tampering with public records and face probation, while 52 were admitted into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program.
Deputy Attorney General Christopher Keating presented the indictment to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau.
The investigation was conducted by Detective Cecil Boone, Sgt. Kelly Howard, Detective Jessica Marcacci and Analyst Terri Drumm.
Grewal also thanked the staate Motor Vehicle Commission’s Division of Security, Investigations & Internal Audit for its referral and "valuable assistance."
He also singled out the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, Lodi police, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and state departments of Education, Labor and Workforce Development and Treasury-Division of Payroll.
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