ADOT detectives break up fraudulent document operation

As part of its efforts to safeguard information, the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Fraudulent Document Unit has broken up an alleged criminal document operation in Phoenix.

Acting on a tip, ADOT detectives monitored the operation for two months and purchased fraudulent documents undercover. On Oct. 21, detectives located the manufacturing facility and apprehended Carlos Morales Alvarez, 34.

The unit seized manufacturing equipment, card stock used for Arizona credentials and credentials from other states, Maricopa County food handler cards and U.S. immigration documents. There were also stolen identities for sale, ADOT said.

“I am grateful to ADOT detectives for their excellent work,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a press release. “The state has a commitment to protect Arizonans from identity theft, and those who partake in this crime and cause harm to our citizens will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law.”

ADOT detectives are still sorting through about 10 years worth of documents to determine how many identities were stolen. So far, they have identified and contacted six Arizona residents.

“With protecting our communities one of Governor Ducey’s top priorities, we are proud to be a state agency that safeguards the identities of Arizonans,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said in the release. “Our detectives work relentlessly to keep that information safe.”

The suspect, alleged to be in the U.S. illegally, is in custody and is being charged with more than 20 felony counts, including forgery, aggravated identity theft and trafficking in stolen identities.

The Fraudulent Document Unit is a part of the Office of Inspector General under ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division, which is primarily tasked with ensuring the safe and efficient movement of people, goods and services throughout the state. Certified peace officers are stationed at ports of entry and mobile inspection units along highways to check commercial vehicles.

The Office of Inspector General conducts criminal and administrative investigations involving all facets of ADOT operations, including title, registration and driver license fraud; titling of stolen vehicles; and licensed and unlicensed car dealers.

The Enforcement and Compliance Division assists other law enforcement agencies as needed.

To report suspected fraud related to ADOT Motor Vehicle Division documents, driver licenses, car dealers and criminal activity, visit azdot.gov/reportfraud.

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