Driving School Busted for Identity Theft, Fraud

The owner and clerk of a Colorado driving school were in court on Wednesday, accused of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, Social Security fraud and bribery. The two were accused of falsely certifying applicants for Colorado driver’s licenses and instruction permits who could not speak, read or write English or otherwise pass their written driving test. Here are the details.

* According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Stuart Bryan King, 52, of Centennial, the owner of the Little Lake Driving Academy, and Griselda Trevino De Valenzuela, 42, of Aurora, clerk of the driving academy, are tentatively scheduled to stand trial on the charges on June 3 in the U.S. District Court in Denver.

* The Little Lake Driving Academy in Aurora acted as a third-party tester for the State of Colorado’s Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles, the attorney’s office reported. The school administered written and driving examinations on behalf of the state in order for an individual to obtain a Colorado Driver’s License.

* King was authorized to conduct driver education classes and certify an applicant’s successful written and driving examinations. De Valenzuela was the secretary/ manager of the school and had the responsibility of informing applicants of the documentation required to obtain a license, collecting the documentation, translating some documents from English to Spanish, providing applicants with a study guide, administering the written test, grading the tests and collecting money from the applicants, the attorney’s office reported.

* From August 2009 through November 2012, King and De Valenzuela falsely certified that applicants had taken and passed the written test. The applicants then presented certified documents to the Department of Motor Vehicles and received their license and/or instruction permit by mail.

* Applicants were charged $130 to $420 in cash in return for being issued passing grades, the attorney’s office reported, and falsified written test results were provided for applicants who could not speak, read or write English adequately or could not pass the test for other reasons.

* According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, conspirators transported people who could not read, speak or write English from Missouri and other states to Colorado and those who were transported had previously purchased identities of U.S. citizens and obtained Missouri identification cards in the names of their stolen identities .

* King faces one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted. Additionally, he has also been charged with one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. The consequence of a conviction on that charge is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

* De Valenzuela faces a count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She also faces a count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a prison sentence of up to two years and a $250,000 fine. She has also been charged with Social Security fraud, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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