DMV worker accused of illegally accessing records in ‘side hustle’ – Times Union

April 24, 2021Updated: April 24, 2021 9:27 p.m.

The City Court entrance of 1 Morton Avenue in Albany, N.Y. Nov 30, 2012. (Skip Dickstein/Times Union)

The City Court entrance of 1 Morton Avenue in Albany, N.Y. Nov 30, 2012. (Skip Dickstein/Times Union)


ALBANY – A state Department of Motor Vehicles office assistant was arrested for illegally accessing DMV records of family members and other persons for personal financial gain, the state Inspector General’s office said Friday.  
Wanda Turner, 53, of Troy, of the Title Bureau at DMV’s Swan Street location in Albany, was arraigned in City Court on charges of felony computer trespass and misdemeanor official misconduct, officials said. She has been suspended by the DMV.
Turner’s job duties include reviewing title applications and supporting documents for completeness and accuracy. However, the Inspector General’s investigation found that Turner, a DMV employee for 20 years, allegedly charged people between $40 and $50 per transaction – essentially a personal convenience fee – on top of existing DMV charges to produce driver abstracts and other documents, which removed the need for them to physically appear in DMV offices.
The investigation also found that Turner allegedly accessed records of estranged family members and an ex-boyfriend to obtain addresses and other personal information in violation of the Drivers Privacy Protection Act and DMV policies, officials said. Over the course of six months, Turner conducted at least 225 unauthorized DMV database searches for information on herself and people known to her, the IG said.
“This individual allegedly misused her taxpayer-funded position to create a ‘side hustle’ where she illegally accessed DMV information and produced official documents while essentially charging her own convenience fee,” said Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro in a statement.
According to the DMV, Turner received training regarding rules, policies and laws addressing the use of personal information maintained by the DMV, including the Drivers Privacy Protection Act; the DMV’s Code of Conduct; and the contents of the DMV’s Employee Handbook. Additionally, Turner has received annual training in “Protecting DMV Records.” DMV policies also provide that any work done for friends and/or family of an employee should not be done by the specific employee.

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