Former driver's license examiner pleads guilty to taking bribes from immigrants for licenses

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UNIONTOWN, Pennsylvania — A former state driver's license examiner has pleaded guilty to taking bribes from immigrants, mostly from the Asian country of Bhutan, who were given licenses without having to pass driving tests.

Marvin Mills, 58, of Vanderbilt, entered a general plea of guilty to 16 counts of bribery, two counts of tampering with public records and one count of unsworn falsification.

Mills formerly worked at the Uniontown Driver's License Center in Fayette County, about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh. State police said in a criminal complaint that he had tested 346 Bhutanese drivers since June 2009 and failed only seven before the scheme was discovered in August 2013.

Authorities said he was paid amounts ranging from $100 to $700 for his actions. In court, he acknowledged having received a total of $5,780.

Officials said in court documents that employees at the licensing center contacted authorities with concerns, saying Mills seemed to intentionally test foreign applicants. Police said applicants came from as far away as Erie and often arrived by the busload.

Defense attorney Thomas Shaffer asked the judge Thursday to consider house arrest when he sentences Mills on Oct. 15, to allow his client to keep his current job as a driver and care for his ailing wife.

"He did this to help pay for medication for his wife," Shaffer said.

Judge Steve Leskinen said he could offer no such guarantee, noting that sentencing guidelines for the charges range from probation to up to seven years in prison.

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