According to the court documents, Salem and Jean-Louis made cash payments to driver's license examiners and posed as interpreters who assisted applicants in cheating on driver’s license examinations. Palmer, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation ("PennDOT") driver's license examiner, took cash payments to issue driver's licenses. The charges are part of a two-year investigation into several illegal businesses that assisted illegal aliens, foreign nationals, and others in obtaining driver's licenses, through fraudulent means, at various PennDOT driver's license centers in Philadelphia.
"These defendants are charged with systematically corrupting the process of obtaining driving licenses and putting hundreds of identification documents into the hands of people not eligible to receive them," said U. S. Attorney Michael L. Levy. "Fraudulently obtained identification documents do more than put unfit drivers on the road and endanger other drivers and pedestrians, they enable other crimes and prevent law enforcement's detection of those crimes."
"Public corruption by state employees selling authentic drivers' licenses to criminals significantly impacts the community's safety and security," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Philadelphia. "This case demonstrates both the seriousness of the threat and the effectiveness of ICE's Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force."
To date, the investigation has resulted in:
- The charging of a total of 20 individuals in various schemes to obtain driver's licenses and other identification documents for ineligible individuals, including illegal aliens, foreign nationals, and others.
- The charging of 10 individuals for operating a 17-year conspiracy to obtain driver's licenses and other fraudulent identification documents for illegal aliens and foreign nationals. This organization, headed by defendant Kakhyun H. Lee and headquartered in northern New Jersey, obtained hundreds of false identities. Lee, a trained artist and Korean national, obtained Korean passports, forged U. S. visas into these passports, and transported hundreds of individuals to Tennessee, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to obtain fraudulent identification documents. These documents included driver's licenses and identification cards that included the picture of Lee's customer and the identifying information of another person Lee supplied. Lee charged his customers up to $4,000 for fraudulent identity documents. Lee has pleaded guilty and is scheduled for sentencing on June 1, 2010.
- The charging of driving school operators Michel Lominy, Salem, and Alphonso Wilson who made cash payments to driver's license examiners to issue licenses to individuals who took perfunctory driving tests, or no test at all, and who assisted applicants in cheating on driving tests.
- The charging of Alexander Steele, Palmer and Anita Levier, all PennDOT driver's license examiners who allegedly took thousands of dollars in cash payments to issue driver's licenses to individuals without regard for their eligibility to receive licenses.
- The seizure of more than $300,000 in cash from Salem, which was part of the proceeds of the scheme and the uncovering of a more than five-year tax fraud scheme engineered by Salem.
- At least seven people caught with one of these fraudulent licenses were caught transporting narcotics or large sums of cash.
If convicted, Salem faces a maximum sentence of 53 years in prison. Palmer faces a maximum sentence of 40 years imprisonment and Jean-Louis faces a maximum sentence of 35 years imprisonment.
|NAME||ADDRESS||YEAR OF BIRTH|
|Saman H. Salem||Philadelphia, PA||1977|
|Kakhyun H. Lee||Ridgefield, NJ||1963|
|Alexander Steele||Philadelphia, PA||1963|
|Harold Palmer||Philadelphia, PA||1966|
|Anita Levier||Philadelphia, PA||1956|
|Michel Lominy||Irvington, NJ||1969|
|Pierre E. Jean-Louis||Collingdale, PA||1958|
|Mal S. Lee||North Wales, PA||1955|
|Alphonso Wilson||Philadelphia, PA||1962|
|Justin Kim||Palisades Park, NJ||1973|
|Ryan Koo||Closter, New Jersey||1970|
|Min S. Kim||Federal custody||1953|
|Marcelino Rodroguez-Garcia||New York, NY||1965|
|Carlos Tejeda-Mejia||In custody/Citizen of Dominican Republic||1979|
|Raul Villaneuva Figueora||Citizen of Dominican Republic||1965|
|Victor Rodriguez||Citizen of Dominican Republic||1968|
|Yerris R. Ramirez Nunez||Citizen of Dominican Republic||1977|
|Jovany Ramirez||Queens, NY||1980|
|Christopher J. Hahn||Edgewater, NJ||1962|
|Hyung J. Chang||Ridgefield, NJ||1975|
|Saman H. Salem||Charged/53 years in prison|
|Kakhyun H. Lee||Awaiting sentencing/163 years in prison|
|Alexander Steele||Awaiting trial/85 years in prison|
|Harold Palmer||Charged/40 years in prison|
|Anita Levier||Sentenced/three years probation|
|Michel Lominy||Awaiting sentencing/193 years in prison|
|Pierre E. Jean-Louis||Charged/35 years in prison|
|Mal S. Lee||Awaiting trial/34 years in prison|
|Alphonso Wilson||Awaiting sentencing/85 years in prison|
|Justin Kim||Awaiting trial/85 years in prison|
|Ryan Koo||Awaiting trial/119 years in prison|
|Min S. Kim||Sentenced/13 months in prison|
|Marcelino Rodriguez-Garcia||Sentenced/25 months in prison|
|Carlos Tejeda-Mejia||Sentenced/27 months in prison|
|Raul Villanueva Figueroa||Sentenced|
|Victor Rodriguez||Sentenced/12 months in prison|
|Yerris Radhames Ramirez Nunez||Sentenced/41 months in prison|
|Jovany Ramirez||Awaiting sentencing/15 years in prison|
|Christopher J. Hahn||Awaiting trial/17 years in prison|
|Hyung J. Chang||Awaiting sentencing/10 years in prison|
The case was investigated by ICE through its Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force with the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the U. S. Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, the FBI and the Pennsylvania State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Richard J. Zack and David J. Ignall.
To learn more about the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force go to www.ice.gov. Report information on Document and Benefit Fraud at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.