The defense began today in the case of Miguel Robleto. Attorney Natchigal began with a whimper by bringing in a woman who worked with Robleto at the now defunct Forest Grove DMV office back ‘in the day’ in the 1980’s. She testified Robleto was a nice guy and testified about how the DMV handles licensing paperwork. An interesting nugget was her revelation that the DMV suggested to people without ID that they mail an envelope to themselves to provide a key piece of ID. That is actually part of Robleto’s alleged scam (see yesterday’s blog for deets), answering the question of where he got the idea! Hey, he got it at work! The DMV reportedly no longer offers this helpful advice to wanna be ODL rip offs.
Thanks to the prosecutor we found out the woman had been SUBPOENAED BY THE DEFENSE and took credit for suggesting to Miguel that he try to get himself a DMV driving test franchise. Good advice. He did. And made a loooooooooooot of money.
The now former employee of the DMV works for a third party company that gives driving tests. Sound familiar? That’s exactly what Miguel Robleto did before he got busted (he’s now simply running a driving school. Guess the bust was bad for business and all…).
Problem solved. She tests some of Robleto’s customers for him. In fact, they saw each other just last week!
Trial resumes Tuesday at 9 with another defense witness and at least one prosecution rebuttal witness.
The Oregonian devoted three whole paragraphs to the story today. This for a story they describe as the BIGGEST IMMIGRATION FRAUD CASE IN STATE HISTORY.
Friday, October 28, 2005
— Holly Danks
Defense will begin
in racketeering case
The case: Miguel F. Robleto, 47, was charged with racketeering involving 189 counts of money laundering, first-degree forgery, tampering with public records and other crimes prosecutors say were related to the Drive Master Education third-party driver’s testing business he ran on Southwest Walnut Street in Hillsboro. Authorities say Robleto and seven others were involved in a scheme that helped thousands of illegal immigrants from across the country get Oregon driver’s licenses, making it the biggest immigration fraud in state history.
Update: Prosecutors dropped 30 counts against Robleto, who has been on trial since Oct. 5 in Washington County Circuit Court before Judge Steven L. Price. On Thursday, Price denied defense motions to dismiss the case.
What’s next: Fred C. Nachtigal, a court-appointed attorney, will open Robleto’s defense today. From his cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, Nachtigal is trying to show that Robleto did not know people were buying fake documents in his parking lot, falsifying driver’s license applications and getting licenses without taking driving tests.