PHILADELPHIA - Alexander Steele, 47, of Philadelphia, and Christopher J. Hahn, 48, of Edgewater, N.J., pleaded guilty Jan. 13 to charges in connection with a scheme that involved bribes to driver's license examiners in exchange for fraudulent driver's licenses. Steele was a PennDOT driver's license examiner, working in West Oak Lane, who took approximately $30,000 in cash bribes from driver's license applicants.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, the FBI and the Pennsylvania State Police.
In the scheme, the applicants were sent to Steele by co-defendants Kakhyun H. Lee, Northern New Jersey driving school operator Michel Lominy, and several others. They were issued licenses without regard to their eligibility. In total, Steele issued more than 100 official Pennsylvania driver's licenses and identification cards, many containing fraudulent identifying information, to foreign nationals and illegal aliens.
The scheme worked similarly with respect to a fraudulent Pennsylvania driver's licenses issued to co-defendant Hahn, who paid $2,000 to obtain a license in the name of "Xueying Hu."
Steele's sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 12, 2011. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to 85 years in prison. Hahn's sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 13, 2011. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to 97 years in prison.
The investigation, dubbed "Operation Blindspot", resulted in the arrests of 19 individuals for obtaining driver's licenses and other identification documents for individuals who were not eligible to receive driver's licenses, including illegal aliens, foreign nationals, and others. Among the co-defendants were several driving school operators and three PennDOT driver's license examiners. One defendant in the case remains, and is awaiting trial.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard J. Zack and David J. Ignall.
For more information, visit www.ice.gov.