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Crime

Former Maryland MVA employee pleads guilty in conspiracy to issue fraudulent driver’s licenses

A former employee of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration pleaded guilty Friday to issuing fraudulent driver’s licenses in exchange for payment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Marion Rose Payne, 55, of Harwood in Anne Arundel County pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce and transfer identification documents without lawful authority. She faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and must pay at least $25,000, which prosecutors said she accepted in exchange for the licenses.

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Payne’s attorney declined to comment on her plea.

Payne conspired with two others to issue more than 276 fraudulent Maryland driver’s licenses from at least July 2015 to March 2016, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron. Payne and an unnamed co-conspirator were employees at the MVA Largo branch. They worked with Warner Antonio Portillo, 36, of Manassas, Virginia, to issue these driver’s licenses, the office said.

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“Portillo and others met with prospective Maryland driver’s license applicants who were willing to pay money to obtain a driver’s license illegally, typically because the applicants were aliens without legal status in the United States or were otherwise unable to obtain a lawfully issued driver’s license,” according to the release.

The applicants paid between $800 and $5,000 in cash for each driver’s license. Portillo not only transported these individuals to the Largo branch, where he directed them to Payne or the co-conspirator’s workstations, but also provided the forged documentation needed to obtain the driver’s license.

These include tax information, proof of Maryland residence and other identification documents, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Four Virginia driver’s licenses and a bank statement that belonged to real people were used multiple times.

Portillo paid Payne at least $25,000 in cash and gifts, and these exchanges sometimes happened in the parking lot of the MVA Largo branch. Payne is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 3. Portillo previously pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing.


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