VALPARAISO | A 26-year-old Knox man was sentenced Friday to 90 days of community corrections in Starke County after pleading guilty in August to a reduced charge of forgery stemming from allegations he attempted to buy a commercial driver's license.
Emmanuel Tepes, who was originally charged with bribery, opted for community corrections over the alternative of 30 days in jail and 30 days of community service offered as part of the plea agreement.
Tepes will also spend just more than 2-1/2 years on probation. If he successfully completes the probation period, he will be eligible to ask the court to reduce his felony conviction to a misdemeanor, Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa said.
An examiner at the ProSafe CDL testing site at U.S. 6 and Juniper Road in South Haven told police Tepes failed the practical portion of his licensing test Jan. 25.
Tepes returned the following day and, after being told he would have to wait for another appointment for a test, said he would like to do it "off the charts" and be "flexible," police said. The examiner began recording the conversation with his cellphone, and Tepes reportedly offered $1,500 for a CDL.
The examiner arranged for Tepes to return the following day and then contacted an investigator with the Indiana Department of Revenue, who notified state police. Police placed an audio recording device on the examiner, and Tepes is accused of giving the examiner $1,500 after commenting how he was saving half the cost of CDL training school, according to charging documents.
Police arrested Tepes moments after the alleged transaction.