Trying to Catch License Fraud in Maryland
Lisa Rein and N.C. Aizenman reported this morning on Maryland's problems with illegal immigrants from elsewhere on the Eastern Seaboard coming to the state to get driver's licenses. Aizenman recently witnessed this scene at a motor vehicles agency office in Prince George's County:
On a recent morning at the Beltvsille MVA branch, the two officials charged with vetting out-of-country documents, Christel Davis and Ceasar Correira, turned away almost as many applications as they accepted.
"Senor, I need at least one bill with the correct spelling of your first name. See, here on your passport there's uno d, but on your bank checks they put dos d's," Davis said, using some Spanish words as he talked to a 36-year-old Ecuadoran man wearing a jean jacket.
"Ok here's the problem," Correira told another applicant, a middle-aged man with a goatee who presented a driver's license from Mexico. "I need an identity document that has your name and your date of birth and this only has your name and a code on it. Maybe you could come back with your passport?"
As with the other mistakes he and Davis were catching, Correira suspected this one was innocent: a lot of Mexican states issue driver's licenses with a special code in place of a date of birth, and the man's license did match the picture in the reference book Correira keeps on his desk.
Still, Correira's eyebrows did arch a notch when he entered the next applicant's Takoma Park address into his computer. The screen lit up with yellow warning highlights.
"You're sure this is where you live?" Correira asked the man in Spanish.
The man, a 25-year-old Ecuadoran, nodded.
"Well, my computer is telling me that it's a place of business, not a residence," Correira said.
"There's a store on the bottom floor, but I live above," the man answered.
"Okay," Correira said in an amiable tone. "I'm going to give you the phone number for one of our investigators. ... If they check it out and approve, you can come back and I'll give you your license."
Correira watched the man walk away. "I'd say it's 50/50 that the address comes back clean," he said.
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