DMV Hearing Officer Guilty of Taking Bribes
A DMV hearing officer guilty of accepting $5,000 in bribes was sentenced yesterday to three months in federal prison. Alva Benavidez, 51, a Mission Valley branch DMV hearing officer guilty by plea in February in a San Diego federal court of one count of conspiracy to accept bribes, will serve six months of house arrest after her custody time.
Benavidez was a hearing officer whose responsibilities included determining whether motorists accused of DUI could drive or not. She was accused of setting aside some suspensions and providing unauthorized temporary licenses. In exchange for those favors, Benavidez accepted bribes worth more than $5,000, including meals, designer purses and sunglasses, prosecutors said. She retired last year after the FBI searched her home and Mission Valley office.
A DMV hearing officer guilty of such crimes is prosecuted in federal court.