Larry Murphy, 54, of Antioch pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal bribery charges in connection with the solicitation and acceptance of more than $5,000 in bribes in exchange for issuing driver licenses and permits, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee.
According to a news release, Murphy was indicted in May by a federal grand jury and charged with soliciting and accepting more than $5,000 in bribes and with conspiracy to unlawfully produce state identification documents, while employed as a supervisory driver's license examiner of the Tennessee Department of Safety.
"This prosecution exemplifies the unified concern and sustained commitment of federal, state and local authorities in pursuing public corruption, and crimes that impact public safety," said U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin. "This case involves both categories of such crimes, and both continue to occupy a high priority for this office."
The indictment alleged that Murphy accepted money from co-defendant Anny Castillo to issue Tennessee driver's licenses and permits to applicants who had either not taken or had not passed the required state examinations. The indictment and the plea agreement also call for forfeiture of funds Murphy obtained in committing the charged offenses.
At the plea hearing, prosecutors said Murphy admitted to U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp that between December 2011 and April 2012, while employed as a state license examiner, he had unlawfully sought and accepted payment of at least $20,000 for the issuance of state driving permits and licenses to persons who were not authorized to obtain such licenses, which included special commercial permits required for driving large trucks. Many of these payments occurred while undercover agents posing as customers recorded the transactions.
"This plea comes after many long hours of hard work by the men and women of the FBI and our law enforcement partners," said Aaron T. Ford, special agent in charge of the Memphis division of the FBI. "Citizens rely on those who hold positions of public trust to execute their duties with integrity and in the best interests of the public. The FBI will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to identify and investigate those who abuse that trust out of personal greed, especially when it potentially puts the safety of the public at risk."
"The defendant not only violated the law, he put the public's safety at risk. That behavior will not be tolerated in the Department of Safety and Homeland Security," said Department Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons.
Murphy will be sentenced on February 15, 2013. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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