Two men, one a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation employee, are facing federal charges after selling driver's licenses based on false identity documents. The DOT employee worked as a driver's license examiner and the second man acted as a middleman between clients and the license examiner.
A 28-page indictment was recently released, accusing the two men of using forged bills and insurance records, stolen Social Security numbers and other false documentation in order to create fake identities for clients. The two men apparently charged around $1,500 to $3,000 for ordinary and commercial driver's licenses, and the driver's license examiner netted some $14,000, according to federal prosecutors.
Few details on how the alleged bribery conspiracy was discovered. What we do know is that PennDot cooperated closely with the Department of Homeland Security, which was in charge of the investigation. We also know that the driver's license examiner no longer works for the agency.
According to the indictment, a 30-year-old Malian man acted as the arranger. He often met clients in the parking lot of a PennDot driver's license center in Eastwick, where the indicted license examiner worked. There he would collect the false documents that would be used to support the licenses.
The license examiner, 54, would enter the documents into a state database, even though he knew they were forgeries, according to the allegations. On some occasions, he allegedly filled out driving test forms for the clients, or copied the results of other test takers.
More than 30 people allegedly paid for the illicit licenses between April 2014 and May 2015. That may mean over 30 untested and falsely documented drivers on the road.
Both men are facing federal bribery and conspiracy charges. Each of those offenses carries a potential sentence of 15 years in prison. In addition, the license examiner is charged with lying to investigators, while the middleman is charged with aggravated identity theft.
In a college town, it's quite common to hear about people buying fake IDs, mainly for the purpose of underage drinking. This story illustrates one method by which those fake IDs come into existence -- as well as the seriousness of the offenses involved.
If you have been accused of possessing, using or creating fake IDs, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer. Your future is at stake.