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From handing out license plates to making them: Former DMV employee guilty of accepting bribes

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Eastern District of California


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Former DMV Employee Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Receive Bribes to Alter Records in DMV Database in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Shawana Denise Harris, 52, of Rancho Cucamonga, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit bribery, to commit unauthorized access of a computer, and to commit identity fraud, which resulted in unqualified drivers receiving their California commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, on Nov. 16, 2017, Harris was charged with conspiring to receive bribes as a DMV employee in Rancho Cucamonga for accessing and altering records in the DMV’s database in Sacramento. During the scheme, Harris altered records to show that applicants for California CDLs had passed the required tests when, in truth, they had not done so, and in some cases had not even taken the tests. In so doing, this caused the DMV to issue permits and completed California CDLs despite the applicants not having taken or passed those tests.

This case is the product of an investigation by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Office of Internal Affairs; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Homeland Security Investigations; and the Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rosanne L. Rust and Christopher S. Hales are prosecuting the case.

Harris is scheduled to be sentenced on July 28, 2022, by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley. Harris faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.


DOJ Press Release

Categories: Anti-Corruption Bribery Department of Justice (DOJ) Updates Pleas and Verdicts


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