Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 11 arrests in and around New York City stemming from an ongoing state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) investigation into bus drivers fraudulently obtaining multiple driver licenses using aliases, including Commercial Driver Licenses (CDLs). Among those arrested are commercial operators and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employees.
Yesterday, authorities arrested two bus drivers and a cab driver in New York City accused of obtaining driver licenses using aliases.
Investigators with the DMV have been using facial recognition technology to identify individuals who have a valid CDL in one name and additional driver license documents in another. The DMV Division of Field Investigation coordinated todays arrests with the New York City Police Department's Fraudulent Document Squad.
"New York will use every tool at its disposal, including the latest facial recognition technology, to end fraudulent practices in obtaining driver licenses," Governor Cuomo said. "People should have confidence in the system, and my administration will continue to crack down on potentially dangerous drivers and buses. I thank the DMV and our partners in law enforcement for their steadfast commitment to rooting out these individuals."
J. David Sampson, Executive Deputy Commissioner of DMV said, "Facial recognition technology has provided DMV with an important tool to identify individuals who use fraudulent documents to obtain a second driver license. This investigation is ongoing and our investigators will continue to identify and arrest all those who have submitted false identities."
Jay H. Walder, MTA Chairman and CEO, said, "We are working with the DMV and law enforcement, and are grateful they have the technology in place to detect this willful evasion of the extensive background checks performed on all MTA employees. All of the bus drivers have been suspended without pay and we are moving immediately to seek their dismissal. The safety of our customers is our top priority and we have zero tolerance for this type of behavior."
The DMV has suspended all the defendants' driving privileges pending criminal prosecution. The drivers arrested today were each charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree and Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree. The investigation is ongoing.
The MTA employees arrested today are:
- Lenford A. Williams (a/k/a Ian Williams) of Lincoln Avenue, Brooklyn
- Imran Alli (a/k/a James Khan) of 108th Street, Jamaica
- J. A. Lopez-Fernandez (a/k/a Benito R. Gil) of Bronx Boulevard, Bronx
- Richard L. Davidson (a/k/a Brian G. Davidson) of Lefferts Boulevard, South Ozone Park
The commercial drivers arrested today are:
- Volodymyr Klochan (a/k/a Volodymyr Klotchan) of Cropsey Avenue, Brooklyn, employed by Anabella Transportation LLC
- Hong Cui (a/k/a Hong Cui) of Parsons Boulevard, Flushing, employed by G&E Express in Flushing
- Luis A. Rivera (a/k/a Arnaldo R. Rodriguez) of Grand Concourse, Bronx, employed by Mile Square Transportation, Inc in Yonkers
- Vilner St. Hilaire (a/k/a Stphard Azilpha) of East 58th Street, Brooklyn, employed by Amboy Bus Co in Brooklyn
- Vernon Stewart (a/k/a Robert C. Stewart) of Midland Parkway, Jamaica, employed by Brooklyn Transportation Corp. and Medi Trans in Brooklyn
- Emmnauel E. Pierre (a/k/a Emmanoel E. Bierren) of Ryder Street, Brooklyn, employed by Tufaro Transit Co., Inc. in Brooklyn
- Lesly K. Jean (a/k/a Leonel Joseph) of Aurelia Court, Brooklyn; employed by Super Shuttle New York in Long Island City
On March 12, a tour bus crashed in the Bronx, killing 15 passengers and injuring dozens more. Since then, New York state investigators subsequently determined that the driver, Ophadell Williams, allegedly provided false statements on his application for a driver license to conceal the fact that he used multiple names and previously had his driving privileges suspended. An investigation into the matter is ongoing. Last weekend, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) and the State Police began a large-scale checkpoint operation to inspect tour buses and driver's records, resulting in dozens of buses and bus drivers taken off the road.
New York state agencies, including DMV, the State Police and DOT, will continue to work with local law enforcement and prosecutors to remove dangerous and illegal drivers from New York's roads.
The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven otherwise in court.