Dozens of people used fake documents to get a Florida driver’s license, and most of them were granted at the same DMV in Southwest Florida.
We looked at how the suspects were able to provide documents that passed as legitimate, and we spoke to a former CIA director who’s worried a driver’s license could become a less reliable form of identification due to what people have been able to exploit in the process.
Collier County Sheriff’s Office is investigating dozens of suspects for using illegitimate documents to receive a Florida driver’s license at a DMV on Orange Blossom Drive in North Naples.
“It hurts everybody,” said Porter Goss, former director of the CIA.
Most recently, Omaid Sultani, 23, was arrested for using fake documents to get a driver’s license. He got one in December at the Orange Blossom DMV and tried to get a second one Monday.
Along with Sultani, CCSO says it’s looking into more than 50 incidents of driver’s license fraud, including three arrested in April. Suspects Plamen Dimitrov Nenkov, 55, and Katya Ivanova Nenkova, 51, both of Arizona, and Biser Emilov Popov, 52, of North Miami each face charges for using false information to obtain a driver’s license and perjury at the Orange Blossom DMV.
The sheriff’s office believes job opportunities are the main motivation, saying it’s less difficult and less expensive to get a driver’s license in Florida compared to other states.
“If it is cheating on the system, that means that the system is working less well for me,” Goss said. “And that means that, when somebody asks me for my Florida identification, they are less sure that my Florida identification is presenting who I really am.”
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles “has enacted stringent requirements relating to the documents that must be presented in order for a customer to prove his/her identity, residency, and citizenship or lawful presence in the United States.”
But Goss hopes law enforcement agencies act quickly.
“We are doing a huge disservice to our self and making life a lot more difficult for freedom in America if there’s cheating,” Goss said. “And so I encourage law enforcement to really settle down on this and go after it in a very meaningful way.”
The North Naples DMV told us its staff is trained to recognize fake identity documents, and it employs analysts who investigate driver’s license fraud.