South Carolina DMV clerk took bribes to pass people on tests, cops say

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A clerk at a state Department of Motor Vehicles branch in Columbia was arrested for taking hundreds of dollars in bribes, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said Monday.

On May 18, Andre Purnell Garner was charged with four counts of a public official accepting bribes to influence the action of a public employee, SLED said in a news release.

In return for passing people on various tests offered at the O’Neil Court DMV branch in Richland County, the 23-year-old Columbia resident accepted a combined $460 as a part of the fraud, according to arrest warrants.

On Feb. 25, 2021, Garner accepted $100 from a customer in return for a passing score on a road test and issuing a driver’s license, an arrest warrant shows. SCDMV said the woman did not “take/complete/pass the road test, making them ineligible for the license,” according to the warrant.

About a week later, on March 1, Garner accepted $60 in return for passing a customer on tests and issuing a commercial driver’s license beginner’s permit, an arrest warrant shows. This customer also did not “take/complete/pass the CDL combination vehicle, air brakes, nor knowledge test; therefore making her ineligible for the license,” according to the warrant.

Later that month, on March 25 and March 26, Garner accepted $150 on each occasion for passing two customers on road tests and issuing driver’s licenses, according to other arrest warrants. These customers also did not “take/complete/pass” the road tests, and were ineligible for the licenses, the warrants show.

After being taken into custody, Garner was booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, according to the release.

There was no word if, or when, Garner stopped working for the DMV, or what prompted an investigation. DMV asked SLED to investigate Garner.

In January, another clerk at the O’Neil Court DMV branch was arrested on three counts of receiving anything of value to influence the action of a public employee. Othinell Arthur Jenkins III was accused of accepting bribes, including concert tickets, in March and April 2021.

Information about any connection between Garner and Jenkins in the fraud was not available.

There was no word if any of the customers involved with the bribing face any criminal charges.

Garner will be prosecuted by the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

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