Citizen Staff Writer
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Authorities have cracked down on those who use fake identification to steal identities, illegally enter the county, obtain jobs or get government services.
Yet there is no similar enforcement effort for adults and youths under 21 who use fake IDs to buy alcohol.
Using a fake ID to drink while underage is almost a rite of passage.
Law enforcement officers say the crime is rarely reported, the offenders aren’t always punished as severely as they should be and young people looking for fake IDs can unwittingly connect to an underworld of ID forgers..
When two Tucsonans were caught making and selling fake IDs in 2005, Attorney General Terry Goddard said they “weren’t just catering to underage college students.”
“This investigation stopped a fake-ID pipeline that could have served human smugglers and even potential terrorists,” he said.
Sgt. Eugene Mejia, spokesman for the University of Arizona Police Department, said last week that “if underage minors can get fictitious IDs that look authentic, so can terrorists.”
Arizona law says people under 21 who use fake IDs to drink can have their driver’s licenses suspended for up to one year.
Tucson police Officer Frank Amado said police protocol is to issue a citation to the person and then send a form and the confiscated fake ID to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division. The citation is often cleared up with a diversion class, he said.
But police are not always alerted when young people use fake IDs.
A back room at Dirtbag’s, 1800 E. Speedway Blvd., is bursting with bags containing thousands of fake IDs confiscated from would-be patrons since the bar opened in 1982.
“We have always heavily enforced the underage drinking rule,” general manager Mark Denning said.
That doesn’t mean the fake ID rule is equally enforced.
Other bars, too, will confiscate the fake ID from its holder but not necessarily detain the person and call police.
Features And Coming Licenses New Florida Driver Security 's Security Coming Driver And Features Florida New Licenses 's “We get a few fake IDs each weekend,” said Frank Alvarado, a bartender for the past year at Maloney’s, 213 N. Fourth Ave. “We keep the cards. If the cops are around, sometimes they are called over.”
Mark Leick, 20, a UA junior, said he knows plenty of students who use fake IDs. He said he never has, but only because he hasn’t found anyone who looks like him.
Many students get IDs from friends, older siblings or fellow students. Others can be bought online from underground ID factories or others.
Leick said he would be willing to approach a man 21 or older who looked like him.
“I would offer him $50 for his ID,” he said, adding the guy could easily replace his ID for a few bucks and simply tell MVD someone stole it.
“If you acquire stuff to hurt people, it’s one thing,” Leick said. “If you’re using it to just drink, it’s no big deal.”
After two Tucsonans were indicted in 2005 on charges of conducting a fake ID operation, Mejia said, “When we make contact with students under the influence of alcohol, it isn’t uncommon for us to find them in possession of a fraudulent license.”
Mejia said holders of fake IDs are cited and the IDs confiscated. He said those who were in possession of just the IDs are given a misdemeanor citation. Those who also are in possession of alcohol get the confiscated IDs sent to MVD.
When he sifted through his department’s 293 minors in possession charges for 2007, he came up with 22 who used fake IDs.
And Features Licenses Security Coming New Driver Florida 's Statistics for 2007 show Tucson police cited 420 on charges of being a minor in possession of alcohol, but the figures do not indicate whether any of them used fake IDs.
Those who pull out fake IDs for police after a traffic stop face misdemeanor charges, Amado said.
Punishment doesn’t get severe until someone uses a false identity to set up fraudulent credit cards, siphon funds from a bank account or live or work here illegally.
Fraud, counterfeiting, tampering with a public record and criminal impersonation are all felonies under Arizona law.
Tucsonans Grant William Coxon, 23, and Lloyd R. Berry, 23, were indicted in August 2005 on charges that they were illegally conducting an enterprise and forgery. The charges could have gotten Coxon and Berry a maximum of 14 and seven years in prison, respectively.
Coxon, who worked as a doorman at Maloney’s while he was making and selling fake IDs, was sentenced in April to six months in jail and three years of probation, said Andrea Esquer, press secretary for Goddard. Coxon is serving his stint in Pima County Jail and declined an interview.
Berry was sentenced in May 2006 to 60 days in jail and two years of probation, Esquer said. Berry could not be located for comment.
A month after their arrest, several state and federal agencies created the Arizona Fraudulent Identification Task Force.
Through August 2007, the task force has served 141 search warrants, seized 2,201 fraudulent documents and turned 139 people over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Undercover agents have bought 509 fake resident alien cards, 503 fake Social Security cards and 172 fake driver’s licenses. Statewide, 1,696 felony charges and 47 misdemeanor charges have resulted.
The task force was moved from the Arizona Department of Homeland Security to the Department of Public Safety about two weeks ago, new director Lt. Tim Chung said, and it has not done investigating during the switch.
Security Coming Driver Florida Features 's Licenses And New Chung said the task force’s main concern is the manufacture of fake IDs and other illegal activity that profits from human smuggling.
Once back in full operation, Chung said, the task force will focus on Maricopa County. He said a Pima County task force was in the works.
Security Driver 's Florida New Coming And Features Licenses To make the Arizona driver’s license harder to forge, the Motor Vehicle Division about six years ago added holograms and other hard-to-reproduce elements.
“There are any number of security features that are built into the ID,” MVD spokeswoman Cydney DeModica said, refusing to name them.
Dirtbag’s General Manager Mark Denning said his doormen have ultraviolet lights that reveal the security features and the annual ID Checking Guide, a handbook of hundreds of current and past IDs and their validation points.How Secure In Most 2017 To Which Technology The Smartphones Are tFqng0gw
They doormen also catch many fake ID holders by making them sign their name or asking their birth date to compare with what’s on the ID.
Coming Florida Security And 's Features New Licenses Driver “We’ll ask them their zodiac sign,” said Bill Nugent, owner of The Shanty, 402 E. Ninth St., who has used a scanner to check IDs for eight years.
DeModica and Denning said Arizona’s efforts to fight license forgery have pushed people to duplicate IDs from other states.
Crime, tied to illegal drinking, is rarely reported
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The biggest problem with fake IDs for the U.S. Border Patrol is not people pretending to be Americans, spokeswoman Dove Haber said.
Florida Coming And Security Licenses 's Features Driver New “The majority of cards we get are from people pretending to be Mexican,” she said.
Most of those people, she said, are from countries much farther from the United States than Mexico.
Features Driver New Licenses And Coming Florida 's Security The immigrants pose as Mexicans figuring that when they get caught, they will be sent “back” to Mexico and have less distance to travel for their next attempt at entering America.
“We’ve had 340,000 arrests this year,” Haber said, and fake IDs are spotted daily.News Latest Latest Latest Fox23 Videos Fox23 Tulsa Tulsa Tulsa News Videos ZEFBxaw
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Driver Florida 's Licenses Security Coming Features New And Using a fake ID for underage drinking:
• Misdemeanor citation
Security Coming Licenses Driver 's New And Features Florida • Suspension of driver’s license for six months for first offense, one year for repeat offense
Knowingly hiring illegal immigrants (maximum penalty):
• Six months in prison
• $3,000 fine per immigrant
Conspiracy to harbor illegal immigrants (maximum):
• Five years in prison
• $250,000 fine
For ID theft, fraudulent schemes:
• Class 2 felony
• Five years in prison
Making fake IDs, forgery charges:
• Class 4 felony
• Two and one-half years in prison
• Class 2 felony
• Five years in prison
• With aggravated circumstances, 25 years to life imprisonment
New Features Driver And 's Licenses Security Coming Florida Source: Tucson Citizen archives, Arizona Revised Statutes
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