HONOLULU — A clerk at the Honolulu Driver's License Department and a local driving instructor have been indicted on federal fraud charges stemming from a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) into allegations they sold legitimate Hawaii driver's licenses to illegal aliens.
Paige Teruya, 47, a clerk at the Dillingham office of the Honolulu Driver's License Department, and Chan Park, 53, a Honolulu driving instructor, are named in a multi-count indictment handed down by a grand jury Wednesday.
The indictment accuses Park and Teruya of conspiring to produce Hawaii driver's licenses without legal authority. The indictment also charges both defendants with producing Hawaii driver's licenses without legal authority on three separate occasions.
According to U.S. Attorney Florence T. Nakakuni, the indictment alleges that for a fee, Park would agree to provide Hawaii driver's licenses to foreign citizens who were in the United States illegally and did not qualify for a license. The indictment further alleges Park provided information to Teruya, who downloaded it into the state system to produce the licenses.
"Targeting schemes like this that enable individuals who are not in this country lawfully to obtain legitimate U.S. identity documents is a top enforcement priority for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)," said Wayne Wills, special agent in charge for ICE HSI in Hawaii. "This type of fraud poses a serious security vulnerability, one that often contributes to a host of other crimes – including identity theft and financial fraud. HSI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to detect, investigate and dismantle this type of activity."
If convicted of the charges, Park and Teruya face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and up to 15 years on the other three charges, plus possible fines of up to $250,000.
Both defendants are scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 22 before Magistrate Judge Richard L. Puglisi. An indictment is only an accusation and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
ICE HSI received substantial assistance with the investigation from the Secret Service and the Honolulu Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Song is prosecuting the case.