MVA to change license process to stop fraud


Responding to a sizable increase in fraud, the state Motor Vehicle Administration plans to change the application process for driver's licenses and identification cards, a spokesman said yesterday.

The proposed changes would alter the types of documents that can be used as proof of state residency when applying for a Maryland driver's license or identification card, said MVA spokesman Buel Young. For example, first-class mail and U.S. Savings Bonds would no longer be accepted, but recent tax returns would.

The department is also considering other action, including hiring additional investigators to identify those who submit fraudulent documents, Young said.

Besides cutting down on fraud cases, which more than tripled from 2003 to 2005, the proposed changes would help the state comply with new federal security requirements, Young said.

As of May 2008, all states' motor vehicle administrations will be required to accept only documents that can be authenticated when issuing driver's licenses or identification cards.

"By implementing these changes in an effort to combat fraud, the MVA believes that the integrity of Maryland's driver's license and identification card will remain secure into the next decade and beyond," John T. Kuo, the MVA administrator, said in a statement.

The changes will not go into effect until after the state Administrative and Executive Legislative Review Committee has reviewed them, Young said. The committee could vote within the next 10 days to accept the changes or decide to hold a public hearing, which could prolong implementation.

Young said most of the fraud cases occurred at MVA offices that deal with immigrants. Last year, the department investigated more than 500 cases in which fraudulent documents were used to obtain drivers' licenses and identification cards. In 2003, the department handled 146 such cases.

The MVA has not received complaints from advocacy groups about the proposed changes, Young said.

In recent years, state legislators have argued about immigration and related issues, including the issuance of driver's licenses.

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