A former employee of the deputy registrar’s office in Gahanna will spend her next five Christmas holidays in jail for issuing state ID cards and driver’s licenses to immigrants who entered the country illegally.
Betina Young, 44, of Bancroft Street in the Linden area, pleaded guilty in May in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to five counts of tampering with records.
Young accepted payments from license applicants to falsify records showing that they presented the necessary documentation to verify immigration status, Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Bond said.
Judge Michael J. Holbrook placed Young on probation yesterday for five years and ordered that she spend a minimum of three days in jail each Christmas while on probation. The exact number of days will be determined in consultation with the probation department. He also imposed a $3,000 fine.
If Young violates probation, the so-called “Holbrook holidays” will be replaced by 15 years in prison, the judge said.
Sekou Kpoto, 42, of Possum Run Court W. on the Northeast Side, is accused of serving as the middleman in the scheme. Kpoto solicited bribes from foreign nationals and drove them to the Gahanna agency, where Young issued 95 fraudulent licenses and IDs during her seven years as a clerk, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles said.
An investigation by the bureau, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security found that Kpoto received $700 to $1,500 for each transaction, a portion of which he paid to Young, the bureau said.
Kpoto, who is charged with five counts of tampering with records, is scheduled for trial next Tuesday.