Denny Russell Gomes, the Lodi resident who produced fraudulent driver's licenses at the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Stockton, was sentenced to 27 months in prison Monday by United States District Judge Frank Damrell Jr.
"I think it was an unduly harsh sentence," said Gomes' lawyer, Michael Babitzke.
The 36-year-old Gomes will serve the sentence for creating false identification documents and committing aggravated identity theft. Gomes is not in custody and will self-surrender to authorities on Sept. 27. Where he will serve his sentence will be determined in the next few weeks, said Lauren Horwood, spokesperson for the
Department of Justice.
"Sometimes a defendant can request where he wants to go," she said. "It's up to the Bureau of Prisons to determine that."
Part of the former Motor Vehicle Field Representative's job duties included processing requests by customers to make changes to their driver's licenses. The drivers would then receive new licenses to reflect the changes.
Gomes admitted to making changes to official driving records to include false information at least 12 times between April 2007 and March 2008.
He would take money and substitute new photographs on existing DMV records. He would also alter a person's recorded weight, height and address for money.
Gomes originally pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of mail fraud and one count of identity theft, after being arrested and arraigned in August 2009.
He changed to his plea to guilty June 1, Horwood said.
Babitzke said Gomes' crimes fell into categories that make it harder to earn his client a shorter sentence.
"It's an example of guideline rules for federal sentencing being fraught with inflexibility," he said. "They don't give courts enough discretion to provide a more appropriate sentence."
His lawyer vouched for Gomes' character and said his client never said financial hardships drove him to commit the crimes.
This case was investigated by the internal affairs division of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Assistant United States Attorney Philip Ferrari was the prosecutor in the case.
The new licenses were mailed to the recipients. While nine lived in Stockton, Gomes also sent fake licenses to Santa Clara, Manteca and San Jose.
No information was available regarding the people Gomes sent licenses to, Horwood said.
Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at email@example.com.