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Former Mass. RMV branch manager pleads guilty to passing learner’s permit tests in exchange for money

By WCVB Staff

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    BROCKTON, Massachusetts (WCVB) — A former manager of a Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles service center pleaded guilty Thursday to accepting money in exchange for agreeing to issue passing learner’s permit test scores to applicants regardless of whether they actually passed or not.

Mia Cox-Johnson, 43, pleaded guilty to two counts of extortion under color of official right and one count of conspiring to commit extortion.

Cox-Johnson, a former manager of the RMV service center in Brockton, took money in exchange for agreeing to give passing scores on learner’s permit tests for both passenger vehicle driver’s licenses and Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs).

Between December 2018 and October 2019, Cox-Johnson conspired to take money in exchange for agreeing to give customers passing scores on their multiple-choice learner’s permit tests even if they did not pass. The customers were told to request a paper test instead of taking the test on the RMV computer. Cox-Johnson scored these customers’ paper tests.

Cox-Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced in July.

Officials said on Dec. 28, 2018, Cox-Johnson accepted $1,000 in cash – delivered from a friend on behalf of another individual – in exchange for giving a passing score to the individual’s relative who had failed the passenger vehicle learner’s permit test six times when taking it in their native language.

Cox-Johnson also agreed to score the relative as having passed the permit test regardless of whether they had actually passed. Cox-Johnson did, in fact, pass the relative’s test, which was taken on paper in English.

On Oct. 21, 2019, a customer came to the Brockton RMV and took three multiple-choice tests they needed to pass in order to get a commercial learner’s permit – a prerequisite to taking the road test for a CDL. Cox-Johnson accepted $200 in cash from an individual to score the customer as having passed the tests even if they did not actually pass. In fact, the applicant failed one of the tests, but Cox-Johnson scored the applicant as having passed all three tests.

The charges of extortion under color of official right and conspiracy to commit extortion each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

More than one year ago, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation reported that the RMV had determined 2,100 drivers were given road test passing scores by two road test examiners at the Brockton Service Center without taking the road test. Two road test examiners and two service center employees were fired as a result of the internal investigation by MassDOT and the Registry.

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