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Two Arrested by MSP at Lansing Secretary of State
April 1, 2011
Third Man Still Sought in Driver's License Bribery Case
LANSING - Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today announced that two men who had approached a branch employee and offered her money to provide driver's licenses illegally have been arrested thanks to a joint effort between her office and the Michigan State Police (MSP) Major Case Unit.
Michael Anthony Pennino, 60, of DeWitt, and Francisco Flores, 25, of Lansing, face preliminary examinations at Lansing's 54-A District Court.
Pennino is charged with two felony counts, including bribery of a public official and conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official. Flores is charged with four felony counts, including two counts of bribery of a public official and two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official.
A third suspect is being sought by police. Michigan State Police D/Sgt. Tom DeClercq said the investigation is ongoing.
The branch employee was approached in August 2010 and initially offered $1,500 to provide driver's licenses without required Social Security numbers or proper documentation. She immediately notified her supervisors and the MSP. At their direction, the employee met with the suspects several times.
State and federal law requires the Department of State to collect and verify Social Security numbers before issuing a driver's license or state identification card.
Johnson commended the Secretary of State branch employee, but said she was not surprised. "In my three months as Secretary of State I have been extremely impressed with employees' dedication and commitment to excellence," she said.
She also commended the MSP. "We have a strong relationship with the State Police and appreciate their assistance and professionalism," Johnson said.
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