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  1. #1
    Senior Member butterbean's Avatar
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    Feb 2005

    Stripper, Bikers at Center DMV Charges ... lines-home

    Stripper, Bikers At Center Of DMV Charges
    January 5, 2006
    By DAVE ALTIMARI, Courant Staff Writer Nilton Filho dropped $1,500 on a dancer named "Mariana" he met at a Bridgeport strip club in August 2003.

    It wasn't sex Filho was after though.

    Court records released Wednesday show the illegal favor that he obtained was a fraudulent Connecticut driver's license.

    Mariana, whose real name is Elaine Lopez, and seven others - including former DMV employees - were arrested last month by a state police task force investigating the illegal issuing of Connecticut driver's licenses, often to illegal immigrants.

    The arrest warrant affidavit shows that less than a week after their meeting, Filho met the exotic dancer in the parking lot of the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Bridgeport. He handed over the cash and walked away with the license - without producing identification or taking the required driver's test.

    The records provide a window into the lucrative and far-reaching scheme. They show that authorities believe some of the conspirators used proceeds to take trips to exotic locales and buy fancy cars. In one case, investigators say a former DMV worker bought so many shoes with the cash she made from selling bogus licenses that she needed to rent a storage facility to hold them.

    Filho, who has not been charged, got one of nearly 1,200 illegal licenses that investigators believe were issued out of the Bridgeport office in a 30-month period from June 2002 to December 2004. In more than a year, investigators have only been able to account for 450 of those licenses.

    The records provide no details of why Filho wanted a bogus license.

    But they do describe a well-oiled organization that included members of the Hell's Angels motorcycle club, who police say recruited illegal immigrants as customers for the DMV employees through Lopez.

    The records show individuals from Danbury, East Haven, New Haven, several Fairfield County towns and Queens, N.Y., were among those who obtained fraudulent licenses. They also suggest that at least two fugitives wanted in other states may be avoiding capture by using Connecticut driver's licenses they obtained using phony names.

    So far, four former Department of Motor Vehicles employees have been arrested, but court records show at least two more former or current employees from the Bridgeport office may have participated in the scam.

    The DMV employees who have been arrested are Venita Bines, 41, of Bridgeport, Karen Birch, 33, of Stratford, Tracy Stevenson-Lucas, 32, of Stratford and Jannette Rodriguez, 33, of Waterbury. Bines, Birch and Rodriguez were arrested in December. All have been charged with various counts of bribery and forgery and conspiracy to commit both.

    Among the others arrested last month were three members of the Hell's Angels - Richard Tramontano, Thomas Hickman and Charles Rubano.

    The affidavits for Bines' and Tramontano's arrest provide new details about the investigation, including;

    At least three of the DMV employees involved may have been selling licenses for more than six years and may have earned close to $100,000 each. Bines bought so many pairs of shoes - at least 550 - that she had to rent a storage unit in Bridgeport to house them all. Stevenson-Lucas bought a new Lincoln Navigator and added a built-in pool to her Stratford home and Birch purchased a Harley Davidson motorcycle and took cruises to St. Martins and other islands in the Bahamas.

    A license issued by Bines to a Warren Anderson of 10 Lindley St. in Bridgeport was really issued to a man named Warren Anderson, who is wanted in Arizona for transporting narcotics. The Lindley Street address is non-existent. Bines also issued a license to a Nigel Bradshaw, also of a non-existent address on Lindley Street. Bradshaw is really Nihem Kahir Dawson, who is wanted in Pennsylvania and New York on drug trafficking charges.

    At least one license was issued in the name of a dead man. Court records show that Bines issued a license to Barry James of 376 Orchard St. in New Haven in October 2003. Investigators have determined that the real Barry James died in Harris, Texas in June 1997. Authorities don't know who really received the license.

    The task force has received calls from police agencies in at least five other states who have arrested people who had Connecticut driver's licenses under bogus names. One illegal immigrant was arrested at Los Angeles' LAX airport carrying $50,000 in cash and a Connecticut license identifying him as Paul Martin from 132 Keeler St. in Bridgeport. The man's real name was George Smith and there is no such address in Bridgeport. In another case, the task force got a call from border patrol agents in North Hudson, N.Y., that they had executed a motor vehicle stop and discovered the driver's license identified him as Kevin O. Walters of Bridgeport. But further investigation showed his real name was Doyan Smith of Brooklyn, N.Y.

    Court records also provide a glimpse into how authorities believe the operation functioned. In the cases described, members of the Hell's Angels who hung out at Ruby II's strip club communicated with illegal immigrants they met there - who were mostly from South America - that they could obtain driver's licenses for anywhere from $1,500-$3,000.

    They were told to bring the money in $100 bills and meet either Lopez or one of the Hell's Angels outside the Bridgeport DMV office. Sometimes they handed the money over to the middlemen. Other times they were told to put the money in a sealed envelope and hand it to the DMV employee who waited on them.

    The illegal immigrants were told to provide their basic information to the middlemen who filled out the DMV forms they had obtained from DMV employees involved in the scam. They were then told to take the forms inside and wait for a specific clerk to call them to the counter.

    The clerk would then call them to the counter and give them a license - without asking for identification or making them take the required test. When investigators tracked down some of the people who got illegal licenses several were able to identify the DMV clerk that waited on them or the Hell's Angel member who met them in the parking lot.

    Besides the strip club on Fairfield Avenue court records show that conspirators recruited illegal immigrants from Ray's Bar and Grille in Stratford, the Pantanal Restaurant in Bridgeport, the Sea Breeze restaurant in East Haven and Ferraro's Waste and Disposal in North Branford as well as at least one Brazilian bar in Danbury.

    Not all of the scam involved the Hell's Angels. In many cases it was either relatives of Bines or people who knew what she was doing who recruited the immigrants, who were mostly Brazilians. There also was at least one Jamaican man named Kenneth Nelson who was working with Stevenson-Lucas, the affidavits show. He was arrested along with Stevenson-Lucas in December 2004 when the licensing scam first was uncovered.

    After the original arrests, Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced the formation of the special task force combining the state police and Chief State's Attorney Christopher L. Morano's office in November 2004.

    State police established the task force in Bridgeport and rehired several retired troopers on a part-time basis to assist in the painstaking probe.

    Investigators have had to track the paperwork for thousands of licenses issued by the Bridgeport DMV office over the past few years. Detectives have had to visit every address issued a license to verify the people living there were actually issued the license.

    State police have been forwarding the names on questionable licenses to federal authorities to run against terrorist databases, but so far have had no matches, sources said.

    The warrants unsealed this week show the investigation is far from complete.

    Overall in a 30-month period between June of 2002 and December 2004 investigators believe about 1,200 fraudulent licenses were issued out of the Bridgeport office and about 930 fraudulent non-driver identification cards. Bines issued 618 of those licenses.

    So far, the task force has found 142 people who have admitted to illegally getting their licenses, which have been revoked by the DMV. Another 202 licenses are believed to have been issued under either fictitious names or addresses that also have been revoked by the DMV.

    The rest are still unaccounted for.
    RIP Butterbean! We miss you and hope you are well in heaven.-- Your ALIPAC friends

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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Saxon Tree Goddess
    words fail me. So its not enough that our government does not enforce immigration laws- government employees have now turned become mafia-black market types-
    more and more we are becoming what we thought we could never be- a corrupt third world country
    Prison is too good for them- but they better not get probation for this.
    All i can say in closing - it's nice to see criminals practive what they learned in their diversity training workshops

  3. #3
    Senior Member jp_48504's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    ANother Reason why the REAL ID will not work. Insiders willing to risk jail so people can have fake ID'S.
    I stay current on Americans for Legal Immigration PAC's fight to Secure Our Border and Send Illegals Home via E-mail Alerts (CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP)

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