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Notary Bulletin

Pattern Of Fraud Suspected With New Mexico Driver's Licenses Issued To Immigrants

A smoke shop, a car repair shop and even nonexistent locations have been used as addresses by scores of foreign nationals to obtain driver’s licenses in New Mexico, and those findings suggest a pattern of fraud, a spokesman for the Governor’s office said.

A 2003 law permits illegal immigrants living in New Mexico to obtain state-issued driver’s licenses. Governor Susana Martinez has argued that the law makes the state a magnet for out-of-state immigrants seeking licenses, which can be used to obtain other identity documents. Driver’s licenses are one of the most common identity documents used for notarizations.

The investigation’s findings indicate that the state’s driver’s license “has been compromised and is not secure,” the Governor’s spokesman told local media. The Albuquerque smoke shop’s address, for example, was used by 48 different people to obtain their licenses. In another example, 31 licenses were issued to people listing the same mobile home as their residence. In one two-month period, the state issued one license a week to that address.

In the past two years, the state has brought more than half-a-dozen criminal cases against individuals offering to help out-of-state immigrants from China, Poland, India and Latin America obtain New Mexico licenses under false pretenses.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.

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