SACRAMENTO–Three suspects were arrested in connection with illegal activity associated with the Disabled Person Placard (DPP) application process, California Department of Motor Vehicles said this week.
The suspects, Qiaoyun Chen, 50, and Guobin Qin, 29, were arrested Saturday at their homes in San Francisco. The San Francisco District Attorney’s office charged the suspects with four felonies including filing false information with a state agency, perjury, commercial burglary, and forgery. The third suspect, Yessi Morales, 35, from San Francisco, was arrested on July 3 during a traffic stop by the San Francisco Police Department, she is charged with 24 felony counts.
“The DMV is stepping up Disabled Placard enforcement in a different, more aggressive way by catching the perpetrators at the beginning stages,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “Operation Blue Zone has been very successful in catching fraud placard applications in the Bay Area.”
The San Francisco District DMV Investigations Office started the Operation Blue Zone (OBZ) investigation in February 2014 after receiving a large number of DPP applications that were flagged by DMV field office staff as being allegedly fraudulent. Flag triggers included suspected forged doctor’s signatures, similar applicant and doctor hand-writing, frequent applications being submitted by the same doctor, and suspected false medical diagnosis. These alleged fraud applications began increasing in numbers in late 2013 and the beginning of 2014, with the majority of the placard recipients living or working in San Francisco. The suspected fraud applications were submitted in several DMV field offices with the majority submitted to the San Mateo DMV field office.
“The crimes related to submitting a fraudulent application as opposed to catching someone on the street misusing a DPP for parking is quite different,” said DMV Supervising Investigator Calvin Woo. “Parking misuse violations are typically local ordinance infractions or vehicle code misdemeanors where the abuser ends up with a hefty fine. Fraud DPP application violations are felonies.”
All three suspects could face up to four years in prison. Morales has been freed on $60,000 bail, and Qin and Chen were released after posting $30,000 bail apiece.