SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco man faces felony charges in an alleged disabled parking placard scheme, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
Montana Le has been charged by the district attorney’s office with six felony counts in connection with more than 34 fraudulent applications for disabled parking placards, DMV officials said.
Le came under suspicion after DMV staff flagged a number of applications that appeared fraudulent. The DMV looks for problems including suspected forged doctor’s signatures, similar applicant and doctor handwriting, frequent applications from the same doctor and suspected false medical diagnoses.
“Our investigation revealed that Le had a number of parking placards registered to his home address. Most of them were issued to different people and all signed by the same doctor,” DMV Supervising Investigator Calvin Woo said in a statement. “We were able to confirm that the doctor’s signatures were forged, which is a felony.”
Woo also told KPIX 5 that Le was charging $400 for temporary placards and $1,000 for permanent ones, adding that Le mostly sold the placards to co-workers and friends of friends.
Le was arrested and released from jail June 2 after posting $80,000 bail, and is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon. He faces potential penalties of up to four years in prison and fines from $1,000 to $10,000 per violation.
Le’s case is connected to that of San Francisco resident Yessi Morales, who was charged in July 2014 with 24 felony counts of parking placard fraud, according to the DMV. Morales told investigators she bought placards from Le.
The DMV’s Operation Blue Zone, launched in February 2014, focuses on identifying fraud during the application process. The operation has led investigators to open 176 related cases, 50 of which have resulted in felony prosecution reports being filed.
Thirty-six suspects have been charged with multiple felonies, eight have been arrested and 46 cases remain active.
Investigators have confirmed that 91 applications had forged doctor signatures and canceled 94 placards. DMV investigators have also issued 135 misdemeanor citations during enforcement operations for fraudulent use of disabled placards.
Members of the public who wish to report someone who is misusing a disabled parking placard can contact the DMV investigations office and submit a written complaint, anonymously if desired.
Forms can be found online at dmv.ca.gov or at local DMV field offices.
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