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Post date: December 7 2001

Three Charged In Dmv Bribery Scheme

State Attorney General Spitzer and State Inspector General Roslynn R. Mauskopf today announced that a former Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) clerk, a Capital District- based private-investigator, and his secretary, were arraigned on a 20-count indictment for their roles in the theft of information from the department and bribes paid to the employee participating in the scheme.

The defendants: former DMV employee Catherine Puckett, 41, of Schenectady; Vincent Liptak, 57, owner of Protrac, Inc., a private investigations firm located in Valatie; and Stacie Kalbacher, 44, Liptak's secretary, were arraigned today before Albany County Court Judge Thomas Breslin. The charges in the multi-count indictment include: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree; Bribery; and Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree, all Class D felonies. The indictment alleges that Liptak and Kalbacher bribed Puckett, an eight-year employee of the agency, to steal personal client information from its computer database over a two-year period.

It is alleged that Puckett, then a DMV clerk, accessed client information from her computer and provided it to Liptak and Kalbacher in exchange for money. The transfer of information was made both by personal delivery and through the use of DMV e-mail and computers. The information was then used in the operation of the private investigation firm.

"My office is committed to the aggressive pursuit and prosecution of crimes involving violations of the public trust," said Spitzer. "Individuals who buy and sell personal identity information, for whatever purpose, pose a great risk to the integrity of our institutions and to the operation of our government."

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Stephen J. Maher of the Attorney General's Criminal Prosecutions Bureau. Also assisting in the case were: Investigators Dave Adams and Harry Mulhall of the Attorney General's Office; and Deputy Inspector General B. J. McKnight and Investigator Joe Cain of the Inspector General's Office.

The information contained in the indictment are allegations only. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.