MD motor vehicle worker created fake driver’s licenses: feds

A former Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration worker accused of creating fake driver’s licenses has pleaded guilty, federal officials said.

AP

A former motor vehicle worker accused of creating hundreds of fake driver’s licenses for noncitizens and others in Maryland pleaded guilty, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

After illegally doling out the licenses, the woman received gifts and cash worth at least $25,000 from another person involved, prosecutors said in a news release.

Marion Rose Payne, 55, of Harwood, on April 22 pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to produce and transfer identification documents without lawful authority while working for the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) in Largo, the attorney’s office said.

Her attorney Charles Burnham declined a request for comment from McClatchy News on April 25.

In the alleged scheme, at least 276 state driver’s licenses were illegally created and issued by Payne and a co-conspirator who also worked for the MVA in Largo, according to the news release.

Between roughly July 2015 and March 2016, they worked with a man named Warner Antonio Portillo who met with those “willing to pay money to obtain a driver’s license illegally” because they were unable to get one, the attorney’s office said.

Portillo and others were paid about $800 and up to $5,000 for each fake driver’s license, according to the release. Portillo would then pay Payne as a result.

Payne and the co-conspirator were provided with fake “documents necessary to obtain a Maryland driver’s license, including proof of payment of taxes, proof of Maryland residence, a valid license number from Motor Vehicle Departments in other states, and an identification document,” from Portillo, according to prosecutors.

Portillo would direct those looking to get a license to either Payne’s or the co-conspirator’s workstation within the MVA, the release said.

“Payne knew that the documents used in support of the driver’s licenses were fraudulent,” prosecutors said.

Additionally, “the documents provided to obtain the fraudulent Maryland driver’s licenses included at least four Virginia DMV licenses and a bank statement belonging to real people that were used multiple times during the conspiracy,” according to the attorney’s office.

During one instance on Jan. 12, 2016, Payne met Portillo in the MVA parking lot and created eight fake “driver’s licenses for Portillo’s customers,” according to court documents obtained by McClatchy News.

One of the driver’s licenses issued by Payne on the same day included a victim’s real Virginia DMV license number, a stipulation of facts said.

This victim’s license number “was used approximately 40 times over the course of the conspiracy,” according to court documents.

Payne’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 3, according to a docket. She faces a maximum potential sentence of up to 15 years in prison and will be ordered to pay at least $25,000, the news release said.

Portillo, 36, of Manassas, Virginia, “previously pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing,” according to prosecutors.

McClatchy News has reached out to attorney believed to be representing Portillo for comment.

Largo is about 30 miles west of Annapolis.

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Julia Marnin is a McClatchy National Real-Time reporter covering the southeast and northeast while based in New York. She’s an alumna of The College of New Jersey and joined McClatchy in 2021. Previously, she’s written for Newsweek, Modern Luxury, Gannett and more.

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