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New York Man Sentenced to Over Two Years in Prison in Connection with Fraudulent CDL Test-Taking Scheme

On May 14, 2015, Jose Payano (a/k/a Polo) was sentenced in US District Court, Brooklyn, New York, to 28 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release. The judge cited the threat to public safety as warranting the harsh sentence.

On May 22, 2014, Payano pleaded guilty to mail fraud in connection with an investigation of a widespread fraudulent CDL test-taking scheme. The investigation revealed that fraudulent CDL test-taking activities have taken place at five Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) test centers in the New York City area. Payano participated in the scheme by facilitating the exchange of testing materials between a CDL applicant and an external test-taker. CDL applicants paid facilitators between $1,800-$2,500 in return for CDL exam answers and escort assistance through DMV processes. Other fraud schemes identified during the investigation included the use of pencils with miniaturized test answers encoded thereon and the use of a Bluetooth headset as a communication device to relay CDL test answers.

Payano was one of eleven subjects arrested on September 25, 2013, in connection with this widespread scheme.

We are conducting this investigation with assistance from the Department of Homeland Security-HSI, New York Police Department, NYS-DMV Investigations, NYS-Attorney General's Office, and NYS-IG.