Federal prosecutors say those employees at the agency's Torrance and Lincoln Park sites in Southern California accepted tens of thousands of dollars in payoffs to approve licenses for unqualified drivers.
Five employees have entered guilty pleas to various charges in the scheme involving cash bribes at least several times a week, officials say.
A DMV investigator helped uncover the conspiracy when she spotted suspicious patterns in application processing at the Torrance office, according to court records.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued the following statement:
"The DMV cooperates with law enforcement in the investigation of alleged illegal activity of DMV employees. Fraud prevention is one key component of customer service. The DMV takes very seriously its responsibility to uphold the law as we serve our customers and we applaud our thousands of employees who work with integrity and pride. Internal audits and investigations of reports or indications of inappropriate behavior can lead to criminal investigations. Those who choose to break the law while employed by the DMV will be appropriately disciplined."