- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A former state driver’s license examiner has been sentenced to a year of house arrest followed by nearly three years’ probation for 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, was sentenced Wednesday by a Fayette County judge after pleading guilty in September 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.

Mills received roughly $5,800 in bribes ranging from $300 to $700, investigators said.

Defense attorney Thomas Shaffer said Mills took the money to pay for medicine for his ailing wife. The attorney argued against jailing Mills, saying taxpayers would be on the hook to support Mills’ wife if he were imprisoned, and that Mills has continued to work as a bus driver to support the couple.

“He hasn’t rested on his laurels,” Shaffer told Judge Steve Leskinen. “He’s gainfully employed.”

District Attorney Jack Heneks unsuccessfully argued for incarceration.

“We don’t know of any fatalities, but we do know of a number of accidents caused by these drivers,” Heneks told the judge. “This is not a mere case of a victimless crime.”

PennDOT officials sent a letter to the court indicating 218 of the 339 drivers Mills passed failed retests. Of the 339, 114 had previously failed tests at other licensing centers and 89 of those Mills passed have been cited for traffic safety violations.

Mills’ co-workers began suspecting something amiss because he would change his work schedule to accommodate the foreign license applicant. Some applicants came in busloads from Pittsburgh, and others as far away as Erie, about three hours north of Uniontown.

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