Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Former PennDOT Driver's License Examiner Arrested for Taking Bribes


On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop J filed criminal charges against a former PennDOT employee accused of using his government position to facilitate a fraud scheme that allowed ineligible drivers to operate motor vehicles.
Troopers say Angelo Carrion, 66, of Lancaster, while employed by PennDOT as a driver's license examiner assistant, solicited money from customers in exchange for his help with knowledge tests. Carrion's actions allowed the customers to receive learner's permits and, subsequently, driver's licenses, according to a criminal complaint filed by Troop J's Vehicle Fraud Investigations Unit.

Carrion worked at two driver's license centers in Lancaster County: the PennDOT Regency Square License Center in East Hempfield Township and the PennDOT Lancaster East License Center in East Lampeter Township. He resigned in April after PennDOT's Risk Management Office identified irregularities with 268 license or identification card transactions he processed between October 2021 and March 2022.

The irregularities included unusual testing patterns, incomplete applications, and the absence of required documents. Many applicants were immigrants, yet their applications often lacked verification of their immigration or citizenship status. In many cases, PennDOT investigators determined the applicants had failed knowledge examinations multiple times but passed when Carrion administered the test.

The Vehicle Fraud Investigations Unit contacted applicants in cases where a criminal offense was suspected. Thirty-five applicants responded for police interviews.

The investigation determined Carrion exploited Spanish-speaking customers, particularly immigrants, and coerced them into giving him cash payments in return for his assistance on the tests. Applicants told police they paid Carrion $20 to $350 for his help with driver's licenses and commercial driver's licenses. Many said Carrion took them into a private room and administered paper tests which, per PennDOT policy, should have been read to the individuals instead of providing them with the physical copy. Carrion also provided applicants with answers.

All customers in this investigation were in the U.S. legally and thus eligible to apply for a driver's license.

Many of Carrion's customers, whether interviewed by police or not, were required to undergo testing again to ensure they possessed the knowledge and skills of a safe driver. Many did not pass the re-testing process.

Carrion is charged with 17 felony counts of bribery in official matters, one felony count each of theft by deception and criminal use of a communication facility, and 17 felony counts plus 35 misdemeanor counts of tampering with public records or information.

Following an arraignment, bail was set at $75,000 unsecured.

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