DETROIT (WWJ) – Two employees with the Detroit Department of Transportation are facing several criminal charges after authorities say they took cash bribes in exchange for forging paperwork for commercial driver’s licenses.
Current DDOT employee Calvin Foulks, of Southfield, and retiree Michelle Reed, of Novi, were arraigned Wednesday in 36th District Court on multiple counts of felony forgery.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says Foulks, 58, and Reed, 61, took more than $4,000 in cash bribes for falsifying multiple Department of State documents. The forged documents stated that the applicants had taken and passed the commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test when they had not. At least 85 fraudulent licenses were issued, said Scheutte.
“Individuals with a flagrant disregard for the law must realize there are consequences,” said Schuette. “Forging documents and taking bribes is not only stealing from state funds, but endangers Michigan drivers.”
Schuette also commended Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and her office for investigating the fraudulent licenses that were received allegedly as a result of Foulks and Reed. Her staff invalidated the 85 CDL tests and all affected drivers were required to retest before having their CDL driving privileges restored.
“Providing false information for a CDL test could result in an unskilled, dangerous driver behind the wheel of a heavy commercial truck,” said Johnson. “Only those who have passed a rigorous and comprehensive driving test are issued a CDL. Those who commit fraud will face strong penalties.”
Foulks is charged with eight counts of felony forgery and Reed is charged with five counts, each of which carry up to fourteen years in prison. Both were given a $25,000 personal recognizance bond, and are due back in court on Feb. 8.
To obtain a commercial driver’s license, Michigan law requires a “behind-the-wheel” test. State and Federal law authorizes the Michigan Department of State to permit municipal entities to conduct these driving skills test. This test is scored by the examiner and an applicant must receive a minimum score to pass. Foulks and Reed were skills test examiners in Detroit. As evidence that the applicant received a passing score, they receive a driver skills test certificate from the examiner. Applicants then present that certificate to any Secretary of State branch where, in exchange, the applicant receives a CDL license.