Posted on January 18, 2005

Driver’s License Scandals Raise National Security Worries

John Christoffersen, AP, Jan. 15

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Tracy Lucas-Stevenson earned $40,000 as a state motor vehicle employee, so she raised investiators’ eyebrows when an acquaintance said she bragged about buying a Lincoln Navigator, a pool and a new kitchen within a year.

What authorities uncovered was a web of illegal immigrants, shady middlemen with names like “Chile” and “El Gordo” and motor vehicle examiners like Lucas-Stevenson who are accused of issuing illegal driver’s licenses.

Connecticut had developed a reputation from as far away as Florida as a place where people could buy fraudulent driver’s licenses for as much as $3,500 without having to produce any identification. DMV workers also took payoffs for stealing the identities of legitimate license holders, police say.


Similar scams have occurred around the country:

—In New Jersey, nine state motor vehicle employees pleaded guilty to a scheme that involved payoffs for bogus licenses.

—In Illinois, a federal investigation into the trading of bribes for driver’s licenses led to dozens of convictions and the indictment of former Gov. George Ryan on racketeering and other charges.

—In Virginia, more than 200 people are losing their licenses because of suspected fraud by a former Department of Motor Vehicles worker who allegedly sold licenses for as much as $2,500 each.