A Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles clerk was arrested Friday in Las Vegas after a federal indictment accused her of issuing identification documents to illegal immigrants in exchange for cash bribes.
Marilyn Millender, 52, of North Las Vegas was indicted Wednesday on one count of bribery and one count of making a false statement. The DMV and the FBI are investigating the case.
“We do prosecute the bad apples, and we do take fraud seriously,” said Kevin Malone, a DMV spokesman.
Millender appeared Friday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen, who released the defendant on her own recognizance. Millender described herself in court as a high school graduate.
Assistant Federal Public Defender William Carrico represented Millender at the hearing but said she is trying to retain a private attorney. Her trial was scheduled for Nov. 4.
Outside the courtroom, Carrico said he had met Millender shortly before the hearing and knew little about her case. He said she has two adult children and has never been married.
A man Carrico identified as Millender’s brother-in-law attended the hearing but declined to comment.
Malone said Millender was hired by the DMV in October 2003. He said she has been on administrative leave with pay since July and knew she was being investigated.
Millender worked as a front-line licensing clerk at the DMV office at 7170 N. Decatur Blvd. Her duties included issuing Nevada driver’s licenses and state identification cards to members of the public.
Between June 1, 2007, and Dec. 30, according to the indictment, she solicited and agreed to accept cash payments from Rocio Aurora Ryan in exchange for the issuance of state identification documents. The indictment alleges the transactions involved $5,000 or more.
“There were multiple transactions,” said Natalie Collins, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Las Vegas. “There were multiple sales of documents.”
Collins said she believes Ryan, who has not been charged, lives in the Las Vegas Valley.
The indictment also accuses Millender of falsely telling the FBI between May 14 and June 4 that she never received any money from Ryan “in connection with the performance of her official duties” as a DMV employee.
“Illegally obtained government-issued identification documents can be used to commit a wide range of illegal acts, including terrorism, and can significantly impede law enforcement activities,” according to a statement issued by U.S. Attorney Greg Brower. “This is a serious crime, with serious consequences.”
In 2004, a federal judge sentenced former Nevada DMV employee Dalva Flagg to nearly six years in prison for providing unauthorized documents to illegal immigrants in exchange for bribes. She admitted accepting more than $300,000 in bribes.
The DMV canceled hundreds of driver’s licenses and state identification cards as a result of Flagg’s actions.
Malone said the agency also will cancel licenses in connection with the Millender investigation.
“We have identified multiple transactions here, and we are going to be canceling an unspecified number of licenses,” the spokesman said. “It’s a fairly low number.”
A Clark County district judge sentenced former DMV clerk Charita Carter to probation in 2005 for selling a driver’s license to a police informant for $500. The informant had provided a counterfeit birth certificate and Social Security card.
“We take fraud very seriously on both sides of the counter,” Malone said.
However, the spokesman said the DMV cannot do much to stop an employee who is “intent on breaking the law.”
“You can’t have a supervisor hovering over every single transaction,” he said.
But he stressed, “The vast majority of our employees are very honest.”
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at email@example.com or 702-380-8135.