January 24th, 2008 02:26 EST
Former Hillsborough County, Fla., tax collector employee sentenced in bribery scheme
TAMPA - A former Hillsborough County Tax Collector's Office employee, who was arrested on Nov. 8, 2006, for allegedly accepting money from illegal aliens seeking to obtain legitimate driver's licenses, was sentenced here today to 27 months' imprisonment following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP).
Deisy Oropesa, 31, entered false information into the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' computer system to reflect that those soliciting the driver's licenses were presenting U.S. passports as evidence of their lawful status.
Oropesa pleaded guilty in November 2007 to conspiracy and three counts of wire fraud involving a scheme to defraud the public of honest services.
The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday.
According to the plea agreement, Oropesa, while employed by the Hillsborough County Tax Collector's office as a senior customer service representative, accepted bribes in exchange for issuing Florida driver's licenses to persons who were ineligible to receive them, including individuals who were not in the United States legally. Oropesa admitted receiving $200 per illegal transaction and a total of $25,000 in bribes.
Ten individuals who paid Oropesa to illegally obtain legitimate driver's licenses through the fraud scheme were arrested in May 2007 by ICE agents and FHP troopers. Those arrested were identified as individuals with outstanding warrants of arrests, immigration violations and criminal histories. Some of the individuals arrested had also obtained Florida commercial driver's licenses.
The case was investigated by ICE, FHP, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, and the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Palermo.