SAVANNAH, GA (July 22, 2011): The emergence of new technology to create fraudulent drivers licenses has created dangers for Georgia businesses that cash checks.
Several cases have been reported and three arrests have been made after fake driver’s licenses were used as identification.
The licenses appear authenticate, except for the bronze background behind the birthdate and date issued. This background appears on state-issued as a hologram, meaning it changes appearances or disappears when the license is moved. On the forged license, it appears as a permanent bronze background.
Three Savannah men have been arrested after such licenses were used to cash checks at area stores.
Earl Timmons, 52, of the 1300 block of East Duffy Street, was charged with 19 counts of forgery in the first degree, possession of an altered or fake state identification card or driver’s license, possession and or negotiating fake checks, unlawful use of an identification or driver’s license, and identity theft.
Jordan Whipple, 18, of the 2100 block of Weldon Street, has been charged with forgery, false identification and theft by deception after a June 29 report. And Samuel Youmans, 39, of the 1100 block of Mohawk Street, was charged with forgery, theft by deception and false identification after he was identified subsequently as the driver of a pickup truck that drove away with merchandise purchased with a forged check.
Timmons was taken into custody by loss prevention officers at the Montgomery Crossroads K-Mart after he tried to use a counterfeit driver’s license to cash forged checks to purchase $255 worth of merchandise. Police also found 17 other checks similar to the one he had tried to cash at K-Mart in his possession.
Whipple was detained by loss prevention officers at Wal-Mart on US 80 June 29 after he had used a fraudulent driver’s license to cash a $617 check and purchase $577 worth of merchandise. Security cameras showed him walking to the parking lot where the merchandise was placed in a white and tan pickup truck that drove away. The driver of the truck was later identified as Youmans.
Sgt. Keith Edwards, director of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Financial Crimes Division said the bogus licenses can pose a real problem for businesses that use them to identify customers.
“They have to be diligent in carefully inspecting the license to assure that the driver’s license is authentic and belongs to the customer,” he said. “The key is the hologram. In the past, fake licenses were produced without the hologram but thieves now are able to produce a similar picture, but not the hologram itself. If the hologram does not change appearances when it is moved, they should seek other forms of identification and proceed cautiously.”
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