Law enforcement officials across New England are being trained on how to spot license fraud. Saugus, Mass. police officer James Scott has been providing classes to police officers, corrections officials, and other officials regarding the tools that he uses to detect impostors, illegal aliens, and others who have fraudulently obtained Massachusetts Driver’s Licenses.
In most cases, a Dominican individual attempts to impersonate a Puerto Rican citizen by using illegally obtained identity documents such as a social security card and birth certificate. Officer Scott teaches his students how to spot these impostors and how to “look behind the driver’s license.” He has trained over a thousand government officials including personnel who staff the license counters at the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles. In New Hampshire, State Troopers have arrested identity fraudsters on the spot when they have provided false information in order to obtain driver’s licenses.
Street police officers can use the techniques learned in the class to detect those using stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained identities during traffic stops, arrests, and routine interactions on the street. Information developed through these interactions can be used as probable cause to arrest, prosecute, and apply for search warrants. It is a felony which carries a potential sentence of five years in state prison to provide false information to the RMV to obtain a driver’s license, learner’s permit, or even a Mass. Identification Card.
There are concerns that Officer Scott’s anti-license fraud crackdown has led to racial profiling and the unfair targeting of immigrant populations and Hispanic people. Most of the “impostors” are reported to be undocumented immigrants. Some individuals using fraudulently obtained state identification are involved in drug trafficking and they use these identities to avoid detection.
Those involved in identity theft such as the fraud and benefit task forces are primarily concerned with individuals who have committed license fraud in order to obtain state and federal benefits which they are not legally entitled to receive. These people who are committing benefit fraud unlawfully and unfairly reduce the benefits available to those who are legally entitled to receive them.
Police officers can report identity theft cases to the Enforcement Services Department of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. This unit conducts special investigations and revokes driver’s license of those suspected of identity theft. If you have received a letter from the RMV alleging comp. fraud lic/id., you have likely been suspected of providing false information to obtain an official credential such as a driver’s license, learner’s permit, or identification card.
If you have been accused of license fraud, you have the right to be represented by a lawyer and you should retain an attorney who is experienced in handling these cases.