Third plea in scheme to funnel IDs to illegal immigrants via the Virginia DMV

A third person pleaded guilty Thursday to participating in a conspiracy to get authentic state IDs for illegal immigrants by bribing a sympathetic Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles employee.

Noemi Barboza, 42, pleaded guilty to a bribery conspiracy charge, admitting that she often drove illegal immigrants to the Fairfax DMV location where an employee would approve their applications for driver’s licenses, learner’s permits and identification cards knowing they could not prove legal presence in the United States. The applicants paid bribes of few thousand dollars to Barboza’s husband or another person, who split the money with the DMV employee.

The employee, 45-year-old Maria Cavallaro, and Barboza’s husband, 42-year-old Jose Calderon, pleaded guilty to their roles Wednesday, admitting they helped obtain documents for as many as 300 people and netted tens of thousands of dollars for themselves. The other person has not yet been formally charged.

At a hearing Thursday in federal district court in Alexandria, Barboza said she got involved “just to help” her husband but acknowledged she benefited from the cash he received.

The scheme lasted from 2007 into 2011, when Cavallaro was fired from the DMV. Barboza faces up to five years in prison at her Feb. 14 sentencing. Barboza’s attorney declined to comment on the plea.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.

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