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Tom Jacobs
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Carson City, NV 89711
Office: (775) 684-4779
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Kevin R. Malone
1399 American Pacific Dr.
Henderson, NV 89074
Office: (702) 486-1311
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 14, 2009
NEWS FROM: Compliance Enforcement Division 09-006

DMV Doubles Arrests for ID Fraud
Facial recognition is a valuable new tool for all law enforcement

Arrests at the southern Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles offices more than doubled in the first three months the department’s new driver license system was in operation. The number of suspects taken into custody on charges related to identity fraud or theft was 29 for January through March, 2009, compared to 13 for the same quarter of 2008. The number of cases opened for investigation nearly doubled to 549 while the number of fraudulent licenses or ID cards cancelled by the department nearly tripled to 136.

The key reason is the DMV’s new Central Issuance driver license system and its facial recognition software, which became fully operational in the Las Vegas area during the week of January 5th. New photographs taken each day are compared to all existing Nevada DMV photos. People who appear in more than one record and records with different people in the photographs are flagged for further investigation. The actual license or ID card is issued and mailed only after it has been cleared through facial recognition.

“Facial recognition and the DMV’s Fraud Unit can be a big help in solving all sorts of crimes,” says Compliance Enforcement Division Sergeant Thomas Newsome. “People engage in identity theft and fraud in order to commit other types of offenses.” In one case during March, the DMV arrested a suspect who was also involved in passport fraud and wanted for felony theft.

The Fraud Unit can help the victims of ID fraud as well as catch suspects. Cases involving a victim are one of the top priorities. Often, victims are unaware their identity has been stolen until they are notified by the DMV. The department can assist them by clearing their compromised DMV records and helping to coordinate the clearance and/or correction of court records and criminal records created by the perpetrator. The department also helps other law enforcement agencies sort out identity theft cases that can become quite complex.

The automated system turned up some 12,600 potential cases in southern Nevada during the first quarter of 2009. Of these, 363 were referred to the Compliance Enforcement Division Fraud Unit for further investigation. Formed in 2003, the Fraud Unit also receives cases from DMV front-counter technicians and other sources, leading to a total of 549 cases opened during the quarter.

FACTS and FIGURES

Southern Nevada License and ID Fraud Cases

 

Facial Recognition matches referred for investigation

DL/ID Fraud cases opened (from all sources)

Arrests

Fraudulent Licenses or ID Cards Cancelled

Jan. - March 2008

--

289

13

48

Jan. - March 2009

363

549

29

136

LINKS

Nevada DMV Central Issuance Web Pages

News Release – 1/7/09 – New Driver Licenses Debut in Las Vegas

Adult Driver License Image (300 dpi) | Minor Driver License Image (300 dpi)

DMV News Releases and Press Clips Home Page

SAMPLE CASES

Here are three selected arrests which illustrate the types of cases the DMV’s Compliance Enforcement Division pursues. The photographs are the Clark County Detention Center booking photos taken the day of the arrest.

Geraldo Aldolfo Linarte
Geraldo Aldolfo Linarte

On March 11, 2009, CED investigators arrested Geraldo Aldolfo Linarte, 49, of Las Vegas at the Flamingo branch office after facial recognition matched the suspect to two different records. Investigators discovered the suspect is an illegal immigrant who was previously arrested and deported by U.S. Immigration.

Linarte assumed the identity of two different U.S. citizens and obtained U.S. Passports and Nevada Driver Licenses. He was charged with multiple felony violations, NRS 205.465 Possession or sale of documents or personal identifying information to establish false status or identity, NRS 440.765.4 Use or possession of certificate of birth of another and NRS 205.060 Burglary.

A fingerprint check also revealed the suspect was a fugitive from justice wanted for 2 counts of felony theft on a warrant issued by Clark County Justice Court. The U.S. Department of State was advised of the passport fraud. U.S. Immigration was also notified.

Jennifer Mills-Winkler
Jennifer Mills-Winkler

On March 19, 2009, CED investigators arrested Jennifer Mills-Winkler, 26, of Las Vegas. The suspect was arrested at the Flamingo branch as she attempted to obtain a duplicate Nevada Instruction Permit. The transaction was not completed after the facial recognition system detected the Suspect’s photo image did not match the photo on the existing record.

The suspect admitted to the fraud stating that she utilized the assumed identity to obtain employment. Mills-Winkler stated she was not eligible for employment under her true identity due to prior felony criminal convictions. She was transported to the Clark County Detention Center where she was booked for three felony violations, NRS 205.465 Possession or sale of documents or personal identifying information to establish false status or identity, NRS 440.765.4 Use or possession of certificate of birth of another and NRS 205.060 Burglary. 

Jose Lopez Pena
Jose Lopez Pena

On March 23, 2009, CED investigators arrested Jose Lopez Pena, 29, of Las Vegas at the Sahara branch office after a facial recognition match and subsequent investigation revealed he was depicted on two different records. The suspect was transported to the Clark County Detention Center where he was booked for two felony violations, NRS 205.465 Possession or sale of documents or personal identifying information to establish false status or identity and NRS 205.060 Burglary.

Following his arrest, the suspect returned to the DMV to attempt to obtain a third fraudulent ID at the Decatur branch office on March 31, 2009. Facial recognition detected the additional image match and alerted investigators to this new fraudulent transaction. The additional criminal violations associated with the latest fraudulent transaction are being submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution along with the prior arrest.