BRENTWOOD — A former state employee and a fellow conspirator who colluded to peddle driver's licenses to illegal immigrants were sentenced to state prison yesterday.
Adalberto Medina, 40, of Manchester, described by a prosecutor as the "catalyst" for the scam, received a five- to 10-year sentence.
Donna Rockholt, 48, of Manchester, who made the licenses while working as a clerk in the Division of Motor Vehicles in Salem, was given an eight- to 28-year sentence. Prosecutors had asked for longer sentences: six to 21 years for Medina, 12 to 47 years for Rockholt.
Relatives, friends, even a parish priest, asked for leniency for the defendants, whose attorneys said had admitted wrongdoing, cooperated with investigators and were sorry for the harm they had done.
Medina's lawyer, Charles Bookman, requested his client be jailed for less than a year to spare him potential deportation to the Dominican Republican.
Rockholt's lawyer, Richard Lehmann, argued that Rockholt should get no more than defendants in similar public corruption cases from other states, and be sentenced to three and a half to seven years.
Judge Tina Nadeau, presiding in Rockingham County Superior Court, said it was a sad day because of Rockholt's actions as a public official.
While Rockholt had demonstrated remorse, Nadeau said, she had to balance that in sentencing against the need for punishment and to deter other public officials from such crimes.
"You were in a position of trust," Nadeau told Rockholt.
Nadeau also said she couldn't in good conscience give Medina a lighter sentence merely because of the threat of deportation. "Your involvement was deep and consistent," Nadeau told him.
Associate Attorney General Jane Young described Rockholt as "the linchpin" who made the conspiracy viable by repeatedly abusing her position for her own gain.
"The defendant must pay a high price," Young said.