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Driving school owner up on fraud charges

SURREY, B.C. -- The owner of a driving school in Surrey has been charged with forgery, for allegedly using bogus dr...

SURREY, B.C. — The owner of a driving school in Surrey has been charged with forgery, for allegedly using bogus driver’s licences and faked letters, to help students qualify to drive large trucks in B.C.

Kamal Singh of South West Driving Academy is scheduled to appear in Surrey Provincial Court on June 26 on three counts of forging documents. The written indictment states that fake driving experience letters, and other false documents, were produced between June 1, 2006 and May 31, 2007.

Other court documents indicate an undercover police officer was offered forged letters from Indian motor vehicle authorities after the officer, posing as a would-be truck driver disclosed his driver’s licence was a fake, to staff at the South West driving school offices at 8918 120A Street.

The officer said he was told that for about $400, he could purchase fake police and court letters that would show he had a clean driving record in the Punjab. The South West staff allegedly gave him tips on aging a forged Indian driver’s licence to make it appear that he’d been driving at least three years. Singh has denied trafficking in forged documents in a previous statement.

A person, who answered the South West phone number, when the Surrey Leader called earlier this week, said it was “out of business.”

Under B.C. law, a driver must first obtain a regular driver’s licence, which can take up to three years before they can apply for a commercial permit. However, applicants who can prove they acquired the equivalent driving experience in their country of origin can bypass the process and go straight to truck driving school. While applicants still face a test to qualify, that exam doesn’t determine if they have the required amount of time on the road to be operating a big rig.

After ICBC discovered the fake document scheme, investigators launched a review of all potentially suspicious driver experience letters. After 1,093 letters were reviewed, 154 licences were suspended, because drivers could not provide genuine papers.

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