DENVER - A local man was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday for mail fraud and bribery concerning a program receiving federal funds. The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney John Walsh, District of Colorado. This case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Colorado Department of Revenue's Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The indictment stems from when Dennis Dean Sieving, 53, was a contract driver's license tester for American Driving Academy. Sieving falsely verified that his clients successfully completed required testing after administering an inadequate test or often, no test. Because of the defendant's alleged conduct, the DMV revoked more than 1,500 driver's licenses. Sieving was arrested without incident Wednesday morning. Later on May 18, Sieving will make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Boyd N. Boland in U.S. District Court in Denver. He will be advised of the charges pending against him, and the penalties associated with those charges.
According to the indictment, American Driving Academy (ADA) is a commercial driving school, which is required to maintain a state-licensed tester. The school is authorized to administer and provide basic operating vehicle testing on behalf of the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Education Compliance Section (Colorado DMV). Specifically, ADA provides testing for individuals to obtain driver's licenses or instructional permits. If an individual successfully passes a written and driver-skill test, a license or permit is mailed from the document-manufacturing company in Washington State to the individual in Colorado.
Sieving was employed by ADA as a manager of ADA's North Metro Denver office located in Arvada, Colo. In addition to his role as a manager, Sieving was also a licensed tester with the State of Colorado. As a licensed tester, the defendant was authorized to conduct driver education classes and certify an applicant's successful written and driving examination that is necessary to obtain a state driver's license and instruction permit from the Colorado DMV.
The indictment alleges that from May 2010 through February 2011, Sieving knowingly devised and participated in a scheme to obtain money by falsely certifying to the Colorado DMV that applicants for a Colorado driver's license had successfully completed the required testing. As part of the scheme, the defendant falsely certified that applicants had taken and passed driving tests. The applicants then provided the false certification to Colorado DMV as proof that the applicant had successfully completed the required testing. In exchange for the fraudulent certification, the applicant received a State of Colorado driver's license or an instruction permit issued by the Colorado DMV.
Sieving allegedly took cash payments from applicants in return for fraudulently issuing passing grades to them on the Colorado DMV's written driver examination and road test. He accepted cash payments of about $50 from applicants for each of the two examinations and did not report the earnings to his employer, ADA. In furtherance of the scheme, the defendant allegedly falsified the written and driving examination results for applicants who could not speak English adequately, or who could not pass the test for other reasons including residing in states other than Colorado. Sieving fraudulently certified hundreds of driving tests that were either inadequate, or simply were not administered at all.
Sieving, after failing to administer an adequate test, falsely completed paperwork for the applicant to provide to the Colorado DMV stating that the applicant had been given a basic operator's driving skills test on an approved testing route, and had successfully completed the test as required by the State. The scheme employed false representations, namely that the written and driving skill test completion certification were issued to applicants who were not properly tested by the defendant. The Colorado DMV, in reliance on the false representations, issued driver's licenses and instruction permits, and caused such licenses and permits to be mailed to the applicant at an in-state address.
In addition, the indictment alleges that the Colorado DMV, as a state agency, received federal assistance during the one-year period between July 1, 2010 and July 1, 2011. Sieving allegedly corruptly accepted cash payments from driver's license applicants, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with a series of transactions where he certified the driving and written examinations of the Colorado DMV.
"Thanks to the excellent investigative work of ICE and the DMV's Investigation Unit, a person who issued driver's licenses and instructional permits to those who were unable to drive has been arrested," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. "In this case, the DMV had to revoke over 1,500 licenses because of this tester's alleged corrupt practices."
"Anyone who obtains a fraudulent government ID may pose a threat to the public," said David Marwell, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Denver. "However, everyone on the road is directly threatened by unqualified drivers. ICE HSI leads Document and Benefit Fraud task forces in Denver and nationwide composed of local, state and federal agencies to identify, investigate and help prosecute document and benefit thieves." Marwell oversees a four-state area, including Colorado.
"The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles works hard to protect the public from unsafe drivers and has taken an active role in rooting out unlawful behavior by unscrupulous driving instructors," said Roxy Huber, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, which includes the DMV. "Our staff has also helped those who were unknowingly harmed in this case by making sure those drivers were able to take the tests as soon as possible to show they are qualified to be on the roads."
Counts 1 through 20 of the indictment are mail fraud. If convicted, the defendant faces not more than five years imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine per count. Count 21 of the indictment is theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. If convicted of this count, the defendant faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Colorado Department of Revenue's Division of Motor Vehicles Investigations Unit.
Sieving is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John M. Canedy.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.