St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Budget cuts may spare community colleges
  • Seven indicted in license inquiry
  • B-CC student dies during an initiation
  • Crime trends mixed at universities

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story

    printer version

    Seven indicted in license inquiry

    The suspects, all workers in South Florida license offices, are accused of taking bribes to issue licenses.


    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published November 21, 2001

    TALLAHASSEE -- Seven state driver's license examiners from South Florida have been indicted on charges they took bribes to issue licenses and identification cards to unqualified applicants.

    State officials say they found no link to any of the Sept. 11 terrorists, who also obtained licenses and identification cards in Florida.

    Investigators identified 45 separate occasions in which unqualified license applicants paid bribes to workers in state license offices in Hialeah and Coral Gables in Miami-Dade County. The employees from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles were paid up to $1,200 for drivers' licenses, the statewide grand jury alleges.

    "The crimes committed by these employees, motivated by greed, brought not only a cloud upon their offices, but jeopardized the safety and welfare of South Florida drivers," said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

    Statewide Prosecutor Melanie Hines said the state employees issued 28 commercial drivers' licenses to people who did not meet the qualifications for the licenses. Others received licenses and identification cards who could not prove their identity or legal presence in the United States.

    In all, there were 189 felony charges. The grand jury that returned the indictments was impaneled in the summer to focus on identity theft.

    The investigation that led to Tuesday's arrests was sparked by Florida Highway Patrolofficials who noticed unusual patterns in the way some licenses were being issued. Officers worked under cover for 15 months while collecting video and audio tapes of the illegal transactions.

    Since the investigation ended in July, all seven of the state employees have been on administrative leave and barred from working in the state offices. They were fired Tuesday after their arrests.

    As a result of the investigation, Robert Sanchez, communications director for the agency, said the state has tightened hiring procedures for examiners.

    The state will perform a complete background check, check credit histories, fingerprint and polygraph examiners before giving them a job. In addition, the state is installing surveillance cameras in some drivers' license offices.

    Those arrested were being held for bails varying from $50,000 to $500,000. They were charged with racketeering, bribery, unlawful compensation, forgery and computer crimes.

    They face maximum prison terms ranging from 20 to 570 years.

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk