By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer
Investigators in New Jersey have suspended hundreds of driver’s licenses and commercial driver’s licenses after facial recognition software showed multiple IDs linked to the same faces.
Prosecutors announced Tuesday, Feb. 12, that they had brought charges against 38 individuals tied to the investigation, including a commercial bus driver who used a dead man’s identity to get his CDL and a tanker hauler who used two false identities for CDLs.
“A driver’s license is a powerful document that enables the holder to open financial accounts, obtain and drive motor vehicles and board airplanes,” New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said in a news release. “By detecting individuals who have false licenses, law enforcement can potentially uncover other types of crime that these individuals may be involved in, including identity theft, financial fraud and even terrorism.”
Prosecutors are examining 669 potential cases in which they may bring charges, including 60 tied to CDLs, the release states.
Twenty-nine of the 38 individuals charged had previously seen their legitimate licenses suspended, including the following:
Rickie Storie, 58, of Old Bridge, NJ, allegedly used the names Edward Ford and Bruce Craig to get CDLs to drive trucks and tanker-trailers. Both Storie’s real and false CDLs have been suspended 64 times, including for multiple DUI convictions.
Anthony E. Smith, 51, of Camden, NJ, allegedly obtained a license illegally under the name Anthony Raymondo after his license was permanently revoked for multiple DUIs. Smith is a registered sex offender.
New Jersey’s license investigation examined all 19 million identities listed in its photo record database to find duplicative photos and identities. The state found 600,000 matches attributed to administrative errors and customer fraud, and suspended 1,800 licenses until customers could re-verify their identities.
The investigation has also uncovered 20 to 40 potential fraudulent unemployment cases, 23 fraud cases investigated by the New Jersey Department of Human Services, three potential Medicaid fraud cases, eight fraudulent U.S. passports, five criminal arrests by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and four criminal fraud suspects identified by the Social Security Administration in connection with over $200,000 in suspected fraud.
New Jersey now performs a nightly scrub of all new photos submitted at its 39 agencies.