Ex-DMV Office Manager to be Sentenced for Taking Bribes

May 18, 2021 Updated: May 18, 2021

LOS ANGELES—The former manager of DMV’s Lincoln Park office faces up to 20 years behind bars when sentenced in August for taking bribes to approve driver’s licenses for people who could not otherwise pass their driving exams.

Jovana T. Nettles, 44, of Norwalk, pleaded guilty May 17 to a federal mail fraud charge, admitting she accepted cash bribes to illegally issue permits and driver’s licenses to otherwise ineligible applicants.

Nettles also admitted to fraudulently entering passing scores for applicants without that person actually taking or passing the necessary tests, according to her plea agreement filed in Los Angeles federal court.

The alleged leader of the scheme, Antanacio Villegas, a former DMV license registration examiner in Torrance and Gardena, is expected to plead guilty to a federal fraud charge on June 21.

Nettles “was part of a conspiracy involving corrupt DMV employees and brokers,” prosecutors wrote in the plea agreement.

The scheme involved someone who would enter passing scores on the required tests and someone further up the chain who would enter the fraudulent information into the DMV database, the agreement states.