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spacer NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE
OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE

 
 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Division of Criminal Justice:
John R. Hagerty   609-984-1936
NJSP
A/Sgt. Stephen Jones   609-882-2000  x6513
MVC
Gordon Deal   609-292-4711

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 13, 2004


 
 
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S DOCUMENT FRAUD TASK FORCE ARREST 3 MVC EMPLOYEE'S AS PART OF ONGOING INVESTIGATION TARGETING CORRUPTION & DOCUMENT FRAUD

Division of Criminal Justice & State Police Infiltrate "Black Market" Cartel
Selling Valid NJ Digital Driver's Licenses...

Trenton, N.J. - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that three Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) employees, along with 13 other individuals, have been arrested as a result of an ongoing investigation by the Attorney General's Document Fraud Initiative on corruption charges related to the brokering of valid New Jersey digital driver's licenses and other legitimate identification documents and credentials. The principal defendants remain in custody in the Essex County Jail pending court appearances for arraignment and bail scheduled for Tues., Dec. 14 before Essex County Superior Court Judge Donald Volkert.

"The arrests in this case represent our continuing commitment to identify and prosecute anyone - at any level - who allows greed to overcome their public service responsibilities," said Attorney General Harvey. "The very existence of corrupt public employees obtaining and selling New Jersey's new digital driver's licenses strikes at the core of our efforts to assure integrity and security for all New Jerseyans. New Jersey's official identification documents are not for sale and those who profit by selling legitimate documents on the black market or by diverting MVC monies to their own pockets will be aggressively prosecuted."

Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice, Colonel Joseph R. Fuentes, Superintendent, New Jersey State Police, and Sharon A. Harrington, Chief Administrator, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, identified the defendants as:

  • Alexander Velez, 20, 100 block, Pallisade Road, Elizabeth, Union County. Clerk employed at the East Orange MVC Agency. Charged with official misconduct, conspiracy, sale of simulated documents, and tampering with public records. In custody in Essex County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash bail;


  • Francois Guiseppe Garcia, 21, 400 block, Stimpson Ave., Linden, Middlesex County. Clerk employed at the East Orange MVC Agency. Charged with official misconduct, conspiracy, sale of simulated documents, and tampering with public records. In custody in Essex County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash bail;


  • Michael James Twaddle, 20, 200 block, Marion Ave., Linden, Middlesex County. Clerk employed at the East Orange MVC Agency. Charged with official misconduct, conspiracy, sale of simulated documents, and tampering with public records. In custody in Essex County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash bail;


  • Hugo Munoz, 42, 500 block, North County Line Road, Jackson, Ocean County. Alleged "broker" of organized criminal cartel in business to obtain and re-sell official New Jersey identification documents. Charged with conspiracy, sale of simulated documents, and tampering with public records. In custody in Essex County Jail in lieu of $750,000 cash bail;


  • Dora Munoz, 500 block, North County Line Road, Jackson, Ocean County. Alleged "broker" of organized criminal cartel in business to obtain and re-sell official New Jersey identification documents. Charged with conspiracy, sale of simulated documents, and tampering with public records. In custody in Essex County Jail in lieu of $750,000 cash bail;


  • Manuel Heber Puentes, 44, New Frendale Road, Warton, Morris County. Alleged "broker" of organized criminal cartel in business to obtain and re-sell official New Jersey identification documents. Charged with conspiracy, sale of simulated documents, and tampering with public records. In custody in Essex County Jail in lieu of $750,000 cash bail;


  • Robert Lister Lopez-Montalvo, 21, 1000 block, Louisa Street, Elizabeth, Union County. Alleged "broker" of organized criminal cartel in business to obtain and re-sell official New Jersey identification documents. Charged with conspiracy, sale of simulated documents, and tampering with public records. In custody in Essex County Jail in lieu of $750,000 cash bail;


  • Ivonne Lopez-Arriciaga, age unknown, 1000 block Louisa Street, Elizabeth, Union County. Alleged "broker" of organized criminal cartel in business to obtain and re-sell official New Jersey identification documents. Charged with conspiracy, sale of simulated documents, and tampering with public records. In custody in Essex County Jail in lieu of $750,000 cash bail;


  • Elian Valvarverde-Fonseca, 27, 200 block, Franklin Ave., Midland Park, Bergen County. Alleged "customer" seeking to illegally purchase official New Jersey digital driver's license. Charged with tampering with public records;


  • Sergio J. Lusnich, 51, East Linden Avenue, Englewood, Bergen County. Alleged "customer" seeking to illegally purchase official New Jersey digital driver's license. Charged with tampering with public records;


  • Maria D. Parama, 48, MacArthur Avenue, Garfield, Bergen County. Alleged "customer" seeking to illegally purchase official New Jersey digital driver's license. Charged with tampering with public records;


  • Kelly Braga, 25, Clover Street, Newark, Essex County. Alleged "customer" seeking to illegally purchase official New Jersey digital driver's license. Charged with tampering with public records;


  • Janeina Santa-Rita, 27, Elm Road, Newark, Essex County. Alleged "customer" seeking to illegally purchase official New Jersey digital driver's license. Charged with tampering with public records;


  • Oscar Parama, 47, Center Street, Garfield, bergen County. Alleged "customer" seeking to illegally purchase official New Jersey digital driver's license. Charged with tampering with public records;


  • Henry Burgos, 26, 1200 block, Martha Ave., Plainfield, Middlesex County. Alleged "customer" seeking to illegally purchase official New Jersey digital driver's license. Charged with tampering with public records;


  • Luis A. Cedena, 20, 800 block, Bailey Ave., Elizabeth, Union County. Alleged "customer" seeking to illegally purchase official New Jersey digital driver's license. Charged withPossession


According to Colonel Fuentes and Director McKoy, the State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice opened separate investigations targeting the black market sale of valid New Jersey digital driver's licenses. The investigations infiltrated the alleged activities of corrupt MVC employees assigned to the East Orange MVC Agency, 55 Washington St., East Orange, Essex County, and "brokers" in the business of obtaining and re-selling legitimate and valid New Jersey digital driver's licenses.

The investigation uncovered information that valid New Jersey digital driver's licenses were trading for more than $3,000 per license on the black market. As a result of court authorized search and seizure warrants, the investigation seized and/or confiscated more than $70,000 in cash, a 2004 Ford Explorer, a 2004 Mazda, $32,000 in cash from a safe deposit box, and various identification documents. The defendants were arrested on Sat., Dec. 11 at various locations, including the East Orange MVC Agency.

"Efforts to investigate and prosecute MVC employee theft and related document fraud focus on illegally obtained and/or fraudulent driver's licenses, vehicle registrations, insurance cards, driver permits and related identification documents such as U.S. passports, social security cards, birth certificates, county ID cards and other official documents," Director McKoy said. "The Document Fraud Initiative continues to uncover areas of susceptibility and to prosecute anyone involved in the black market trade of illegally obtained and/or illegitimate identification documents. "

"It is obvious that these MVC clerks have not learned anything from the examples of their jailed predecessors," said State Police Colonel Fuentes. "Conspiring to obtain and distribute New Jersey digital driver's licenses is not only a second degree crime, it's a threat to homeland security. The New Jersey State Police will treat it as such."

"The good news is that our new initiatives such as on-site investigators, uniformed police at the East Orange agency and security cameras all played a role in stopping this fraud," said MVC Chief Administrator Harrington. "The bad news is that there are still those individuals who insist on disgracing themselves, their state, and their country," she said.

To date, the Attorney General's Document Fraud Initiative has resulted in the prosecution of more than 91 individuals, including 13 current/former MVC employees. State Grand Jury indictments have charged official misconduct, forgery, theft, identity theft, gifts to public servants, and related criminal violations. As a result of the prosecutions, dozens of convictions and/or guilty pleas with resulting sentences ranging from ten years in State Prison to hundreds of hours of community service.

The investigations were conducted by the New Jersey State Police Auto Unit - North Squad, the New Jersey State Police Document Fraud Unit, the Division of Criminal Justice - Organized Crime & Racketeering Bureau, and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Internal Investigations Unit. Deputy Attorney General Erin Callahan will represent the Division of Criminal Justice at the arraignment and bail hearings.

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