Virginia, like most states, exercises careful control over the issuance of documents such as driver’s licenses and commercial driver’s licenses. Occasionally, these controls are subverted by individuals who want to obtain a Virginia’s driver’s license without going through the procedural formalities established by the state.
An example of these attempts to evade Virginia’s licensing statutes was recently provided by the arrests of several individuals residing in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. The individuals have been charged with various crimes associated with attempts to obtain Virginia driver’s licenses through the fraudulent use of forged and copied documents from other states.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, the individuals were apprehended when a DMV Customer Services representative observed several of the individuals attempting to use forged documents and alerted law enforcement officers of “suspected wrongdoing.”
Seven individuals in multiple jurisdictions have been arrested in connection with the alleged crimes. The DMV said that it had uncovered 94 cases in several jurisdictions of fraudulently issued driving licenses issued based on altered driving records and altered residency documents. The defendants who have thus far been arrested told officers about an Instagram account where the forged documents were advertised for sale.
The alleged perpetrators of the scheme required the purchasers of the fraudulent documents to pay with Cash App. The fraudulent documents would then be e-mailed to the purchasers, who were then expected to print the documents. The most common alteration to the forged documents was a change to indicate that the supposed licensee held either a valid driver’s license or commercial driver’s license issued by the state of residency, when, in fact, this was not the case.
The only suspect found guilty of a crime in connection with the licensing fraud was initially charged with obtaining a license by fraud, a felony punishable by up to a year in prison. The charge, however, was downgraded to unauthorized use of DMV materials, which is a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $214. Both the jail sentence and the fine were suspended.