Federal agents dismantled a major immigration fraud ring last week involving the selling of fake driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. More than 160 illegally obtained New Mexico driver’s licenses were suspended as a result of the investigation, and two Notaries were among those indicted.
According to case documents, immigrants in North and South Carolina were charged $2,500 to have fake utility bills sent to them in their name, along with New Mexico addresses that could then be used as proof of residence. The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division does not require proof of U.S. Citizenship to obtain a driver’s license.
Thirty-eight people were indicted in connection with the fraud ring, including two Notaries accused of notarizing documents for the MVD that they were aware would be used fraudulently.
New Mexico’s Tax and Revenue Department currently uses machines built to detect fraudulent documents such as the fake utility bills used in these crimes, and it is expanding efforts to identify and prevent identification fraud.
Notaries can help combat fake ID fraud by educating themselves on what a proper state-issued ID looks like, and how to identify fakes. When examining IDs, scan for anything questionable, such as a photo that doesn’t match the signer’s appearance, misspelled words or incorrect information on the ID, inconsistencies with the name signed on the document, or signs indicating the card may have been altered.
If you have an issue with an ID and the signer cannot provide alternative identification, do not proceed with the notarization. The NNA’s Notary Hotline counselors can answer member questions about identification documents at (888) 876-0827.