Baltimore, MD - A recent audit found that the state of Maryland had issued hundreds of fraudulent driver's licenses to illegal immigrants without legal documentation, after employees failed to verify their information.
Auditors also found that in more than 100 separate cases, the names used to get driver’s licenses or ID cards did not match the identification number on the required comptroller’s letter.
The same address was found to have been used to obtain 40 different driver's licenses.
Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) investigators were unable to confiscate most of the improperly issued driver's licenses because they had fraudulent addresses.
The licenses in question are the second tier-kind, created in 2013 by Maryland lawmakers as a way to ensure undocumented immigrants could obtain legal identification and be allowed to legally drive on state roads.
The second-tier licenses do not meet federally-required security standards, and cannot be used to board an airplane, or enter a federal building.
They are issued to applicants who do not have a social security card, but have paid taxes within Maryland for at least two years.
Maryland had issued more than 86,200 of the driver’s licenses and IDs by August of 2016.
The licenses require a verification letter from the state comptroller's office saying that the applicant has paid taxes, and each letter is supposed to have a unique number for taxpayer identification.
The authenticity of the taxpayer identification number is determined when a person applies online in advance for the licenses. Applicants must apply in advance, and licenses should not be issued to anyone who hasn’t be authenticated.
The MVA launched an internal investigation in 2016 after an employee reported suspicious activity by two colleagues.
An audit found that in 2016, a single branch of the MVA issued 270 licenses based on fraudulent documents during a six-month period.
State auditors discovered the problem was more widespread than originally thought, and questioned whether the MVA had fixed the process.
They found that a single verification letter from the comptroller's office was used repeatedly to obtain 16 driver's licenses or ID cards.
In response to the audit, MVA officials said it had fired two employees after finding they had violated the policy of not processing applications unless people had applied online first. The employees were referred to the authorities, WRC-TV reported.
Officials said they closed the loophole allowing a comptroller's identification letter to be used more than once in April.