LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two former California Highway Patrol officers have been charged with accepting $35,000 in bribes in exchange for falsifying records for exotic cars, authorities said.
Jessie Anthony Carrillo and James Yao Kuo pleaded not guilty Monday during their arraignment in Los Angeles County Superior Court on one count each of conspiracy and three counts of accepting a bribe, according to the California Attorney General’s Office.
Kuo’s attorney, Daniel V. Nixon, said his client denies any wrongdoing.
“He flatly rejects the allegations made against him in the complaint and we expect to vigorously defend the case in court in the weeks ahead,” Nixon said in an email.
Carrillo’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The charges were filed on Jan. 19 by the state’s Department of Justice, and the former officers surrendered to authorities six days later. It was also not immediately clear how long they had worked for the CHP and where they had been stationed.
Carrillo and Kuo conspired to alter documents intended for Carfax and the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for two so-called “gray market” vehicles in 2016 and 2017, authorities said.
Such vehicles are imported into the U.S.and are often illegal to drive in California because they may not meet safety or emission standards and cannot be registered.
Authorities did not uncover the scheme until 2019, according to court documents, when Kuo’s former girlfriend told the CHP that the two officers had been accepting money to submit false paperwork to the DMV.
The CHP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.