An employee of the District's Department of Motor Vehicles accepted bribes in exchange for helping illegal immigrants obtain fraudulent driver's licenses, according to charges filed yesterday in New York.
Gwendolynn Dean, 48, of Washington was part of an operation in which two men transported the immigrants from New York to Washington and gave Dean money in exchange for her cooperation in processing the licenses, according to court documents.
Dean, a window clerk, was charged with conspiracy and fraud and could receive 15 years in jail and a $250,000 fine. The two men -- Rafet Ozoglu, 41, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Mustafa Ozsusamlar, 58, of Paterson, N.J. -- were charged with conspiracy, bribery, fraud and transporting illegal immigrants and could be sentenced to 65 years in prison and fined $250,000.
DMV officials declined to comment on the specifics of the matter yesterday. Regina Williams, a DMV spokeswoman, said Dean, who has worked for the city since 1998, is on paid leave pending resolution of the case.
"We are responding in conjunction with the FBI and law enforcement," Williams wrote to The Washington Post in an e-mail response to questions about Dean. " . . . Be assured that this agency is addressing this matter expeditiously."
Beginning in February 2001, according to court documents, Ozoglu and Ozsusamlar recruited "clients" in New York, most of whom were illegal immigrants, and drove them to Washington.
At the DMV, Dean was bribed to process the license applications even though the clients did not have proper identification, prosecutors said. Ozoglu and Ozsusamlar charged their clients as much as $2,000 for the licenses and gave some of the money to Dean.
The operation was broken up by police in June after they were tipped off by an informant who had met with Ozoglu in May, court documents state.
Dean could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Williams said that because the department upgraded to a new computer system called Destiny in April, it will be able to guard against such fraud in the future.
"While there is no system or procedure to completely ensure the integrity of information . . . it can now track all activities and give us a clearer picture of who is doing what and where," she wrote.