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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2014
DMV Investigators Make Major Disabled Placard Application Bust
Operation Blue Zone Catches Three Fraudulent Placard Applicants
SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced today the arrest of three suspects in connection with illegal activity associated with the Disabled Person Placard (DPP) application process. On Saturday, July 12, 2014, Qiaoyun Chen, 50 years old, and Guobin Qin, 29 years old, were arrested at their homes in San Francisco. The San Francisco District Attorney's office charged the suspects with four felonies including filing false information with a state agency, perjury, commercial burglary, and forgery. The third suspect, Yessi Morales, 35 years old from San Francisco, was arrested on July 3, 2014 during a traffic stop by the San Francisco Police Department, she is charged with 24 felony counts.
"The DMV is stepping up Disabled Placard enforcement in a different, more aggressive way by catching the perpetrators at the beginning stages," said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. "Operation Blue Zone has been very successful in catching fraud placard applications in the Bay Area."
The San Francisco District DMV Investigations Office started the Operation Blue Zone (OBZ) investigation in February 2014 after receiving a large number of DPP applications that were flagged by DMV field office staff as being allegedly fraudulent. Flag triggers included suspected forged doctor's signatures, similar applicant and doctor hand-writing, frequent applications being submitted by the same doctor, and suspected false medical diagnosis. These alleged fraud applications began increasing in numbers in late 2013 and the beginning of 2014, with the majority of the placard recipients living or working in San Francisco. The suspected fraud applications were submitted in several DMV field offices with the majority submitted to the San Mateo DMV field office.
"The crimes related to submitting a fraudulent application as opposed to catching someone on the street misusing a DPP for parking is quite different," said DMV Supervising Investigator Calvin Woo. "Parking misuse violations are typically local ordinance infractions or vehicle code misdemeanors where the abuser ends up with a hefty fine. Fraud DPP application violations are felonies."
All three suspects could face up to four years in prison. Morales has been freed on $60,000 bail, and Qin and Chen were released after posting $30,000 bail apiece.
If you believe that someone has been issued a Disabled Person Placard in error or suspect placard misuse, we urge you to contact your local DMV Investigations office and submit a written complaint. The complaint can be anonymous. Please be aware that some qualifying disabilities are not visually apparent and allegations of misuse may be unfounded. The department considers crimes relating to disabled placards very serious and every complaint of this nature will be reviewed. Complaint forms can be found on the DMV public website www.dmv.ca.gov under the search key words "Record of Complaint," or under form INV172A - Record of Complaint form. You may also obtain a complaint form from your local DMV field office.
DMV's Investigations Division enhances consumer protection including auto and identity related fraud, car dealers, driving schools, traffic violator schools, and other DMV occupational licensees, as well as Internal Affairs Investigations. DMV is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).
Save Time, Go Online! Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Website including online advance appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and payment of fees via secure debit transactions. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at (800) 777-0133. DMV is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).