Homeland Security: Drivers license fraud is security threat - KMSP-TV

Homeland Security: Drivers license fraud is national security threat

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The Department of Homeland Security says the use of fraudulently obtained Minnesota drivers licenses is a threat to national security.

Michael Feinberg, Special Agent in Charge of the regional Homeland Security Office, called the discovery of thousands of fraudulent state IDs "a vulnerability that we need to address."

"I revert to the 9-11 hijackers," Feinberg explained. "They were able to get licenses in other states very easily."

Homeland Security's Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force has been examining nearly 10,000 cases of Minnesota drivers licenses obtained through possible fraud. So far, 18 people have been arrested and several have been indicted.

The latest case is Oluremi George, also known as Victoria Ayoola, a clerical employee working Minnesota Secretary of State's Office. According to the recently unsealed federal indictment, George used a fraudulent Social Security number to get a real Minnesota drivers license, and she then used that license and the Social security number again to get a valid U.S. passport under that alias.

As uncovered by the FOX 9 Investigators, there are nearly 24,000 Minnesota drivers licenses that may be cases of possible fraud. Those cases were discovered by facial recognition software that electronically compared photos in the Department of Vehicles Services data bank of 11 million photos. That facial recognition scrub was conducted in 2008, paid for with a federal grant.

However, Agent Feinberg is quick to point out that no facial recognition scan has been done of photos since 2008.

"That was just a snapshot in time," Feinberg said.

The FOX 9 Investigators also learned that the Department of Vehicle Services did not voluntarily turn over names of possible fraudulent drivers licenses. In 2011, a Federal Grand Jury issued several subpoenas for those names. The Department of Vehicle Services told FOX 9 News it has provided 5,800 names to law enforcement, but Feinberg said nearly 10,000 is a more precise number.

Feinberg says the task force is currently looking at the most egregious cases and those that could pose a national security threat.

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