Vehicle-records worker probed
Police opened a bribery investigation into a city employee who works daily with motorists purchasing vehicle registrations.
After an internal probe found irregularities in his transactions, the 50-year-old Aiea man, a city employee for 15 years, was arrested Monday and released yesterday afternoon as police continue to investigate the case. He had been placed on unpaid administrative leave a month before the arrest.
On April 24, Customer Services Director Jeff Coelho said he learned of possible mistakes in certain vehicle registration transactions and began an internal investigation.
Two days later, the employee, who works for the city Motor Vehicle, Licensing and Permits Division, was placed on administrative leave. The city continued its internal investigation for a month before notifying police Friday.
Police arrested the man about 10:45 a.m. Monday in Stadium Mall on Salt Lake Boulevard. The city turned all of its evidence over to police yesterday, Coelho said.
City and police officials declined to give any details about the bribery allegations, including the span of time and amount of money involved.
After police detectives are finished with their investigation, they can formally charge the man or prosecutors can ask a grand jury to indict him. From there, Coelho said, the city will determine if the man is still suitable to continue working for the department.
"We have to presume innocence until proven guilty for this employee," Coelho said. "This type of allegation tends to put a color on our other hardworking employees. By and large, our employees are hardworking, dependable public servants."
Bribery is a Class B felony for public servants and is punishable by a $25,000 fine and 10 years' imprisonment.