A 39-year-old former clerk with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) received a seven-year state prison sentence for selling commercial driver’s licenses to over 220 school bus driver candidates.
Rodman Lora must now forfeit his state pension, after pleading guilty to faking the government records and selling tens of thousands of dollars in CDLs. He and the owner of a local school bus company were among 10 people charged on Dec. 20 last year in the scheme to pass applicants without the required written or driving exams.
Lora of Ridgewood, N.Y., pleaded guilty on April 16 to charges of second-degree conspiracy, second-degree computer criminal activity and third-degree tampering with public records. The charges were for entering passing test scores for unqualified school bus drivers, some of whom had previously failed their tests, and who paid him an average of over $700 each from 2014 to 2016.
Lora was sentenced on June 15. In addition to his prison term and loss of his pension, he was permanently barred from seeking future public employment. The New Jersey Attorney General’s office said Lora must serve a minimum of five years in prison before being eligible for parole.
“The illegal brokering and sale of driver’s licenses compromises public safety and security on multiple levels, by allowing unqualified drivers to share our roadways, and by enabling criminals to steal identities and use false identities to commit crimes,” noted New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “The MVC has enhanced its technology and programs to prevent this type of fraud, and we will continue to collaborate with them to investigate and aggressively prosecute those responsible.”
Also sentenced on June 15 was Luis Tiburcio, 46, the MWC clerk who served as a runner to recruit customers for Lora; Masood Ahmadi, 55, the owner of Ideal Transportation; and Mark Hingston, 55, a security guard for a firm contracted by MWC. Tiburcio received three years in prison for receiving payments from Lora, while Ahmadi received three years of probation for sending commercial driver applicants to him, some of which were his relatives. Hingston received two years of probation and 100 hours of community service for obtaining a CDL after Lora entered passing written exam scores for him.
“The prison sentences ordered for this former MVC clerk and one of his runners send a strong deterrent message that document fraud of this kind is a serious crime that will be met with serious penalties,” said Veronica Allende, director of the state’s Division of Criminal Justice.
Sixty other customers and runners were also charged in connection with the fraud. Seven of these defendants pleaded guilty to tampering with public records and face probation, while 52 were admitted into an intervention program, the Attorney General’s Office added.
MVC said it opened the investigation after an internal audit uncovered the scheme.