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Earlier this month, FBI agents raided the Georgetown branch of the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles and arrested five people allegedly selling fake licenses.
“Everything that we do has a black market,” DMV Director Lucinda M. Babers said at an afternoon press conference. “There are people that are perhaps approaching our employees on a daily basis to see if they can entice them.”
What repercussions could result from this bust? The DMVs are probably monitoring their employees a little more closely. And perhaps there’s a vacuum in the fraudulent identification world currently being filled by new scam artists. But, here’s one after-effect I didn’t see coming: suspects charged with fraud are using the Georgetown DMV story as a possible defense.
Well, at least one is. Last Friday, I happened to be in Judge Rafael Diaz’s courtroom when defendant Yvette Scott’s case was called. Last October, Scott visited the Southwest M Street DMV with a phony driver’s license she was trying turn into a real one (she wanted to “renew” it).
Apparently, the I.D. wasn’t just a fake—it was a really bad fake. The officer who wrote up the police report said he could tell it was false the moment he looked at it: “The name printed on the license was typed on the outside of the [lamination]. The font used by [the] DMV was different from the font used on the fake driver’s license.” There are other details, but you get the point.
Scott didn’t fess up though. She just told the officer she got the license at the DMV’s Brentwood branch in Northeast. Then, the officer told her he was going to arrest her.
In Diaz’s courtroom last week, Scott still wasn’t straying from her position. But, this time, she let her lawyer, Frederick Iverson, do most of the talking. He told Diaz he believed there was a “pattern” going on in the DMV system and the Brentwood location was possibly inflicted with the same problems as the Georgetown branch. Iverson asked for a continuance to look into this potential DMV debacle. Scott will be back in court on April 17.