NOVEMBER 10, 2006
For the second time in a few months a Florida state employee has been caught selling the same kind of fraudulent driver’s licenses purchased by the terrorists responsible for the deadliest attacks in United States history.
Long considered a serious national security risk by federal authorities, fake driver’s licenses allow criminals, terrorists and illegal aliens to remain in the country “legally.” In fact, many of the September 11 hijackers used them to live in the U.S. for years as did the terrorists who helped carry out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York.
Florida seems to be a hotbed of illegal licenses since several of the 9/11 hijackers lived in the Sunshine State and purchased them there. In August a motor vehicle clerk pleaded guilty to federal charges of taking bribes for approving commercial driver’s licenses, many of them to people in the country illegally.
This week, a veteran employee at the state agency that collects property taxes and fees for local government agencies, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, admitted being part of an organized scheme that sold driver’s licenses and altered immigration information on official records.
The senior customer service representative in the Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s Office said she altered the citizenship status – making U.S. citizens of non citizens–of at least 58 people for $200 a pop and that she received thousands of dollars for her work. She was charged with 174 counts of fraud, corruption and official misconduct by a public employee.
Homeland Security officials say fraudulent documents, especially U.S. driver’s licenses, present a huge security threat that allows potential terrorists to live and work in the country while plotting deadly attacks. In fiscal year 2005, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted more than 75,000 fraudulent documents, leading to the apprehension of more than 84,000 people trying to come into this country illegally.
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