Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Feds, MPD Raid Georgetown DMV

An employee of the Georgetown branch of D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles was arrested in the Georgetown Park Mall Wednesday on suspicions of selling illegal identifications. DMV examiner Patricia Elizabeth Gonzalez and five others in the DMV were arrested in the raid, NBC4 reported. The six are suspected of selling fake driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and others who are not qualified to legally obtain a license. NBC4 reported that Gonzalez is accused of creating fake licenses and using her managerial post to override the computer system. DMV Service Integrity Officer Gabriel Robinson said he first discovered the illegal operation eight months ago. “I was investigating for a law enforcement agency when I learned about [the counterfeit licenses] and alerted the authorities,” Robinson said. Robinson first informed the D.C. Inspector General’s Office of the situation, which led to an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The number of licenses sold illegally and who exactly purchased them is still under investigation. DMV director Lucinda Babers said she is determined to prevent situations like this one and stop any that might occur. “Everything we do [at the DMV] has a black market value. There are people that are approaching our employees on a daily basis to see if they can entice them,” Babers said. “And unfortunately, we have some of the most lucrative things, driver’s licenses and identifications.” In response to recent incidents of fraud involving its employees, the D.C. DMV requires its employees to attend ongoing training for fraudulent document recognition, vehicle document examiner certifications and face recognition to determine and detect fraud, according to Janis Hazel, a public information officer for the D.C. DMV. “The reason this case was discovered was because of ongoing checks of falsifications, shortages of inventory, et cetera. There are numerous members of the DMV trained in fraudulent document recognition.” Wednesday was not the first time a case involving fraud took place at the Georgetown DMV, Hazel said. In the past five years there have been two incidents in the Georgetown branch and one at the former K Street location. In August 2003, a traffic violations clerk and a friend were arrested for fixing hundreds of parking tickets and traffic violations. Just three months later, another clerk was arrested for illegally selling driver’s licenses. In August 2004, another government employee and two accomplices took bribes in exchange for manufacturing driver’s licenses with false names. Hazel said many DMV employees also take courses through the American Association of Vehicle Administrators. Programs at AAMVA include training in the areas of effective and secure driver licensing and collaboration with law enforcement. In addition to these initiatives, the D.C. DMV plans to establish a new policy in which all employees must have full background checks before they are hired. Anne Park, owner and proprietor of Towne Liquor on Wisconsin Avenue, said fake identifications are an issue, but not an overly-frequent tool used by underage alcohol buyers. “We only take real IDs. I know a real ID from a fake because I’ve been trained by the [Alcoholic Beverage Control] board. We only catch students using fake ids a few times a week, and if we do, we don’t let them buy liquor.” Park said if she catches a student using a fake ID, she does not confiscate it, and the police are only called on rare occasions.

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