Allegedly Created and Issued Approximately 267 Fraudulent Driver’s Licenses
Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal grand jury has indicted Marion Rose Payne, age 54, of Harwood, Maryland, on the federal charges of conspiracy to produce and transfer identification documents produced without lawful authority, the production and transfer of identification documents produced without lawful authority, aggravated identity theft, and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. The indictment was returned on March 31, 2021.
The indictment was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner and Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore.
According to the indictment, from July 2015 to March 2016, Payne conspired with Antonio Portillo, age 35, of Manassas, Virginia to produce and transfer Maryland driver’s licenses while she was employed with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). Payne allegedly agreed to illegally produce, transfer, and sell Maryland driver’s licenses to unlawful applicants provided by Portillo. According to the indictment, at Portillo’s direction, applicants were directed to Payne’s workstation at the MVA Largo Branch to obtain illegally produced and fraudulent driver’s licenses. Payne allegedly received payment for each fraudulently issued driver’s license. Payne is no longer employed by the MVA.
As detailed in the indictment and other court documents, prospective applicants paid Portillo thousands of dollars for each fraudulently issued driver’s license and additional funds for making the arrangements to obtain the illegal license. Payne received names, addresses, and other information that applicants wished to appear on their Maryland driver’s license. Portillo allegedly provided the information to Payne along with other fraudulent documents necessary to receive a driver’s license, including proof of tax payment for a two-year period, proof of Maryland residence, and an identification document. Portillo also allegedly gave Payne, or caused Payne to be given, fraudulent documents purporting to show the applicants’ Virginia driver’s license numbers. In fact, the Virginia driver’s license numbers depicted on the documents belonged to other real individuals who were not the applicants. The indictment alleges that, using the information provided by Portillo, Payne produced and transferred, or caused to be produced and transferred, Maryland driver’s licenses produced without lawful authority to the applicants at the MVA Largo Branch.
According to the indictment, on January 7, 2016, Payne allegedly produced and transferred six fraudulent Maryland driver’s licenses, including licenses for three individuals that used the identity information of two victims. The license for individual 1 was allegedly fraudulently based on the Virginia driver’s license belonging to Victim 4. The licenses for the remaining two individuals were allegedly fraudulently based upon the Virginia driver’s license belonging to Victim 1. The indictment also claims that Payne met with Portillo and other individuals in the parking lot of the MVA Largo Branch. Between January 7, 2016 and February 11, 2016 Payne allegedly created 35 fraudulent driver’s licenses, at least nine of which were based on the Virginia driver’s license numbers of at least five victims.
Antonio Portillo, age 35, of Manassas, Virginia, previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme. He has not yet been sentenced.
Maryland Department of Transportation MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer stated, “Following the April 2016 investigation, MDOT MVA immediately cancelled all of the fraudulent licenses in question. Additionally, we implemented system changes to prevent the unlawful production and transfer of licenses and retrained staff to reinforce proper protocols. MDOT MVA has a zero tolerance policy for fraud, and we take pride in maintaining the highest standards in the interest of safety on Maryland roads.”
If convicted, Payne faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison for the conspiracy and for production and transfer of identification documents produced without lawful authority; a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for bribery involving an agent of a program receiving federal funds; and a mandatory sentence of two years in federal prison, consecutive to any other sentenced imposed, for aggravated identity theft. The government is also seeking forfeiture of $138,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Payne is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt at a later date.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended HSI for their work in the investigation and thanked the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Investigation and Security Services for its assistance. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly O’Connell Hayes who is prosecuting the case.
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