ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro announced Friday morning the arrest of a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office assistant who illegally accessed DMV records of family members and other individuals for personal financial gain.
Wanda Turner, 53, of Troy, an Office Assistant in the Title Bureau at DMV’s Swan Street location in Albany, was arraigned in Albany City Court on charges of Computer Trespass and Official Misconduct. She has been suspended by the DMV.
Turner’s job includes reviewing title applications and supporting documents for completeness and accuracy. However, the Inspector General’s investigation found that Turner, a DMV employee for 20 years, allegedly charged individuals between $40-$50 per transaction – essentially a personal convenience fee – on top of existing DMV fees to produce driver abstracts and other documents. These DMV designated fees removed the need for individuals to physically appear in DMV offices.
The investigation also found that Turner allegedly accessed records of estranged family members and an ex-boyfriend to obtain addresses and other personal information. This violates the Drivers Privacy Protection Act and DMV policies. Over the course of six months, Turner conducted at least 225 unauthorized DMV database searches for information on herself and individuals known to her.
According to the DMV, Turner received training on rules, policies and laws addressing the use of personal information maintained by the DMV, including the Drivers Privacy Protection Act, the DMV’s Code of Conduct and the contents of the DMV’s Employee Handbook. Additionally, Turner has received annual training in “Protecting DMV Records.” DMV policies also provide that any work done for friends and/or family of an employee should not be done by that specific employee.