Morris Man Illegally Renewed Driver's Licenses, AG Says
Gustavo Valencia conspired with a DMV clerk and others to sell driver's licenses to people who were in the country illegally, authorities charge.
A 70-year-old Morris man was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to multiple counts of second-degree conspiracy and official misconduct for brokering illegal sales of driver's licenses out of the Edison and East Orange state Division of Motor Vehicle offices without requiring six points of identification.
Additionally, Gustavo Valencia will have two years of parole ineligibility.
Along with Valencia, Ricardo Jalil, 65, and his wife, Martha Jalil, 55, both of Dover, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges after Attorney General Jeffrey Jeffrey S. Chiesa said they also helped people illegally obtain driver's licenses. Ricardo Jalil was sentenced Thursday to 300 days in jail and two years of probation after he pleaded guilty on Feb. 19 to conspiring with his wife and a former clerk, Lorena Escobar, at the Edison agency to renew licenses for people who were in the country illegally.
Martha Jalil pleaded guilty on Feb. 23 after she admitted to conspiring with Escobar to provide the licenses in exchange for cash, Chiesa said. She is scheduled for sentencing April 12, at which time the state will recommend a seven-year state prison sentence.
The former clerk, Escobar, 32, of Bound Brook, pleaded guilty March 24 2010 to second-degree conspiracy and is scheduled for sentencing on April 12, at which time the state will recommend a state prison term. The state agreed to adjourn her sentencing after she said she would testify in Valencia's trial, Chiesa said.
Chiesa said Valencia admitted receiving thousands of dollars for renewing licenses for people without six points of identification.
“We must shut down the black market for New Jersey driver’s licenses, because we cannot afford to have dangerous drivers, con artists and those who may wish to hurt us obtaining this powerful form of identification through fraud,” Chiesa said. “We will continue to catch those who traffic in illicit licenses using the MVC’s cutting-edge Facial Scrub technology and this type of investigation.”
Valencia, Escobar and the Jalils are among 40 people named in indictments stemming from the illegal driver's license conspiracies, Chiesa said. A press release from Chiesa's office also noted that customers paid between $2,500 and $7,000 for each driver's license or license renewal, the proceeds split between the brokers.
“The message here is clear: people who seek to profit from this type of document fraud will wind up behind bars,” Director of the Division of Criminal Justice Elie Honig said. “We are building on our working relationship with the MVC to detect and prosecute these crimes.”