Former Local 17 Business Agent Pleads Guilty To Misusing NYS DMV Database

Jeffrey A. Peterson, 51, of Freedom, NY, has pleaded guilty to exceeding authorized access to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYS DMV) database. The plea was announced Thursday by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York. The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Peterson was employed as a business agent with Local 17 of the Operating Engineers International, AFL-CIO. As a business agent, he had authority to access  the NYS DMV database for the limited purpose of determining if current Local 17 members had up to date commercial drivers’ licenses.

On April 25, 2005, Peterson accessed the NYS DMV database to determine the registered owner of a vehicle that appeared at a Local 17 picket line outside Portville, NY four days earlier on April 21, 2005. That inquiry was outside the scope of the agreement between Local 17 and the NYS DMV. As it turned out, the vehicle belonged to the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General and was being driven by a Department of Labor Special Agent. This incident was just one of multiple violations of the agreement which resulted in the NYS DMV denying Local 17 further access to the database.

The prosecutors did not announce how Peterson’s improper access was detected.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 15, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Skretny.

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