Former Texas DPS employee pleads guilty in CDL scam

A former Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) employee pleaded guilty for his role in an elaborate fraudulent commercial driver’s license (CDL) scheme.

Alonzo Blackman recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and honest services fraud in U.S. District Court in San Antonio.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 13.

Blackman, along with two truck drivers, Marino Maury Diaz-Leon and Fernando Guardado Vazquez, was indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2019 in connection with a scheme to sell more than 200 CDLs to drivers who had either failed or didn’t take the skills test.

In court filings, all three were originally charged with one count of conspiracy to produce identification documents without lawful authority, one count of conspiracy to transfer identification documents without lawful authority, and conspiracy to commit mail and honest services fraud, according to the indictment.

Diaz-Leon and Vazquez pleaded not guilty and were scheduled to go to trial on April 27; however, a plea hearing has been scheduled for April 9, according to court documents.

From Jan. 1, 2017, to around June 30, 2019, court filings alleged, Vazquez and Diaz-Leon, both Cuban citizens legally residing in the U.S., would pay money to Blackman, a DPS CDL skills tester, to falsely certify that certain applicants had passed the skills portion of the test.

Court documents alleged that Blackman would then prepare and print temporary CDL licenses for the applicants, and DPS later mailed them permanent CDLs.The majority of the CDLs went to Cuban nationals. The CDLs in question were later canceled, according to the FBI.

Blackman, a seven-year DPS employee, was arrested following a 2018 DPS audit that found he “had an unusual number of CDLs being issued.”