|TRENTON – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a former clerk at the East Orange Motor Vehicle Agency was sentenced to state prison today for illegally selling New Jersey digital driver’s licenses to unauthorized persons.
Laquanda Murray, 29, of Newark, a former clerk in the East Orange Motor Vehicle Agency, was sentenced to four years in state prison, including two years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Michael A. Petrolle in Essex County. She was ordered to pay a fine of $10,000 and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey. Murray pleaded guilty on May 9 to charges of second-degree conspiracy and third-degree tampering with public records or information. She admitted that, between November 2008 and March 2009, she conspired to sell digital driver’s licenses to people who did not have the required six points of identification. Several middle men and “brokers” allegedly conspired with her in the illegal sales of licenses. Deputy Attorney General Marysol Rosero prosecuted the case and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau.
“By unlawfully selling driver’s licenses, this motor vehicle clerk sold out the public’s trust and the security of the people of New Jersey,” said Attorney General Chiesa. “Prison is the appropriate sentence for this type of corruption, which can play into the hands of criminals who use black market driver’s licenses to engage in fraud or commit other offenses.”
“Working with the Motor Vehicle Commission, we investigated and indicted 40 defendants in connection with illegal license brokering rings at five motor vehicle agencies,” said Director Stephen J. Taylor of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Three MVC clerks have already been sentenced to prison as a result of our prosecutions.”
Murray was among 40 defendants named in indictments unsealed on Dec. 5, 2011, which also alleged conspiracies to illegally sell driver’s licenses out of the Jersey City, Edison, North Bergen and Lodi motor vehicle agencies. In some cases, the customers, who are foreign nationals, did not qualify for a license because they were in the U.S. illegally. In other cases, they lacked sufficient documentation. The customers paid $2,500 to $7,000 for a license or license renewal, and the MVC clerks and other co-conspirators split the proceeds.
The indictments resulted from joint investigations by the Division of Criminal Justice MVC Unit, within the Specialized Crimes Bureau; the Motor Vehicle Commission’s Division of Security, Investigation and Internal Audit; and the New Jersey State Police Auto Unit Document Fraud Squad.
Attorney General Chiesa and Director Taylor noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has established a toll-free tipline 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities. The public can also log on to the Division of Criminal Justice webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing. All information received through the Division of Criminal Justice tipline or webpage will remain confidential.