|TRENTON – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a man was sentenced to prison today for acting as a broker in a scheme involving former clerks at the Jersey City Motor Vehicle Agency to illegally sell New Jersey digital driver’s licenses to unauthorized persons.
Peter Loveras, 34, of East Rutherford, was sentenced to four years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Paul M. DePascale in Hudson County. He must pay $7,500 in restitution. Loveras pleaded guilty on Dec. 3, 2012 to a charge of bribery. He admitted that he brokered illegal sales of driver’s licenses out of the Jersey City Motor Vehicle Agency to customers without the required six points of identification. Deputy Attorney General Frank J. Brady Jr. prosecuted the case and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau. Loveras was charged as a result of investigations by the Division of Criminal Justice and the Motor Vehicle Commission into illegal brokering rings at five motor vehicle agencies.
On Sept. 7, 2012, a co-defendant, Sonia Noel, 49, of Union City, a former clerk at the Jersey City Motor Vehicle Agency, was sentenced to four years in prison. She pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy, admitting she entered false information into the MVC database in order to sell driver’s licenses to unauthorized persons. Her daughter, Melody Noel, who was also a clerk at the agency, pleaded guilty to third-degree tampering with public records, admitting she assisted in processing the application for one of the illegal licenses sold by her mother. She was sentenced to probation and community service. A customer, Hernan Chica-Tamayo, 54, of Hackensack, was also sentenced to probation and community service.
“Through the advanced technology of the MVC’s new Facial Scrub program and aggressive prosecutions like this one, we will detect and punish those who traffic in fraudulently issued driver’s licenses,” said Attorney General Chiesa. “We must close the door on illegal drivers, identity thieves and even terrorists who can use such licenses to commit crimes.”
“The MVC has implemented cutting-edge security measures for digital driver’s licenses, and we will continue to work with MVC to police any abuse of this crucial form of identification,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This prison sentence should deter others who would consider dealing in black-market licenses.”
The defendants charged in this case were among 40 defendants named in indictments unsealed on Dec. 5, 2011, which also charged conspiracies to illegally sell driver’s licenses out of the East Orange, 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 brokers split the proceeds.
The indictments resulted from joint investigations by the Division of Criminal Justice MVC Unit, within the Specialized Crimes Bureau, and the Motor Vehicle Commission’s Division of Security, Investigation and Internal Audit.
Attorney General Chiesa and Director Honig 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.