DMV, NYPD and Queens D.A. Use DMV's Facial Recognition System to Identify Drivers with Multiple Licenses
Albany, NY (March 24, 2011)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that an investigation by the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) utilizing facial recognition technology has led to the arrests of two bus drivers in New York City accused of obtaining commercial driver licenses using aliases. The same technology also helped investigators identify and charge a taxi cab driver who allegedly used a license obtained under an alias.
Each bus driver had a valid commercial driver's license (CDL) in one name and a suspended CDL in another. The licenses contained a 19-A endorsement that would have also permitted them to be used by school bus drivers.
The investigation was conducted by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Division of Field Investigation, the New York City Police Department Fraudulent Investigations Squad and the Queen's District Attorney's Office.
"Millions of New Yorkers use buses every year, and should be able to have confidence in the safety of the system." Governor Cuomo said. "The DMV and other state agencies are coordinating efforts with local law enforcement and using the latest technology to make our roads and highways safer. I applaud them for their swift actions."
The two bus drivers, George Gregory Gonsalves (aka Gregory Gonsalves) of Rosedale and Emel Enrique Marin (aka Carlos Lopez) of Woodside; and the cab driver, Leonard Forbes (aka Luis Alvarez-Andrade) of Roosevelt, were charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree and Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree. Gonsalves is employed by Community Transportation Systems and Marin by Little Linda Bus Company.
Community Transportation Systems, Inc., located at 15905 Hillside Avenue, is a registered passenger bus operator, meaning it can transport students and also "for hire" other passengers. Little Linda Bus Co., Inc., located at 97-14 Atlantic Avenue in Ozone Park, is a school bus operator.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, "The alleged failure of the defendants to be totally truthful with state authorities or their employers about the status of their driver's licenses compromised the transportation safety of their passengers, some of whom were children. In light of recent events I want to thank Governor Cuomo and the state Department of Motor Vehicles for their swift action which resulted in the arrest of the accused."
J. David Sampson, Deputy Executive Commissioner of the DMV said, "The DMV's innovative facial recognition technology is helping to get dangerous drivers who attempt to conceal previous license suspensions off our roads. New York's highways will be safer for all who use them because of efforts like the one we saw today."
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, Ophadel 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) 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 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.