Driving School Owner Accused Of Taking Bribes For Licenses
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– The owner of a driving school has been accused of taking bribes to give driver’s licenses to people who never passed the test.
Stuart Bryan King owns the Little Lake Driving Academy at 1415 Havana Street in Aurora.
The academy acts as a third-party tester that administers written and driving examinations on behalf of the State of Colorado. The school then sends certified documents to the Department of Motor Vehicles so people can obtain their driver’s licenses.
King, 52, of Centennial and one of the clerks, Griselda Trevino De Valenzuela, 42, at the school are accused of falsifying documents for more than 20 people. Some of those people are believed to be in the U.S. illegally.
Investigators claim they took cash bribes ranging from $130 to $420.
They have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, Social Security fraud and bribery.
“Little Lake is one of 114 driving schools that provide customers with written and driving testing,” said Michael Dixon, Senior Director, Division of Motor Vehicles. “These schools provide a valuable service to the citizens of Colorado. It is unfortunate when a tester may be taking advantage of customers, but it is the exception rather than the rule. The DMV audits 100 percent of the driving schools each year.”
King was authorized to conduct driver education classes as well as certify an applicant’s successful written and driving examinations so they could receive the valid Colorado driving documents.
De Valenzuela acted as the secretary/manager of Little Lake Driving Academy. Her responsibilities included informing applicants of the documentation required to obtain a Colorado driver’s license, collecting the documentation from the applicants, translating certain documents from English to Spanish, providing applicants with a study guide, administering the written test to applicants, grading those tests and collecting money from the applicants. She would then give the money to King.
The fraud is alleged to have occurred between Aug. 2009 through Nov. 2012.
The investigation into King, De Valenzuela and Little Lake Driving Academy revealed that conspirators transported people who could not speak, read or write English from Missouri and other states to Colorado.
Those transported to Colorado from Missouri had previously purchased the identities of U.S. citizens and obtained Missouri identification cards in the names of the stolen identities.
These individuals, after utilizing the services of Little Lake, turned in their Missouri identification cards to obtain Colorado driver’s licenses and instruction permits. Last year, as part of this same investigation, 20 individuals who had utilized the services of Little Lake and who turned in Missouri identification cards were indicted in Colorado for Aggravated Identity Theft.
Both remain free on bond. Their trial has been tentatively scheduled for June 3.