Fraud in the driver’s license program

Tax and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla hands Sen. Cisco McSorley an agency report

Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, grilled members of the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department about the level of fraud active in New Mexico’s drivers license program. Officials from the agency told senators earlier in Tuesday’s hearing that fraud appeared to be rampant.

Alvin Romero of the department’s tax fraud investigations division said the number of cases that you have about 100 drivers licenses that were issued out of six schemes involving foreign nationals, Romero said when questioned by Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque.

Investigations that were sent on to prosecutors in the two years that he had worked in his current job numbered into the “teens, or 20s,” Romero said.

Romero went on to say that the number of licenses involved in various fraudulent schemes numbered “in the hundreds, definitely” over that two-year period.

As an example, Romero spoke of Rosa Pardo-Marrufo, an Albuquerque woman who was convicted last year on several felony counts of providing false proof of residency documents. Romero said the woman used her address in 60 fraudulently issued drivers licenses. The Albuquerque woman’s scheme involved providing false residency documents to foreign nationals, many of them from Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, the release said. The individuals seeking New Mexico driver’s licenses paid Pardo-Marrufo anywhere from $700 to $900 for the documents, according to the department.

McSorley asked Tax and Rev Secretary Demesia Padilla how many licenses were found to be fraudulently issued in the past month.

Padilla said her agency had made arrests or stopped issuance on six licenses in that period. But however good the agency is, “the criminal element always gets ahead of us,” Padilla said.

That means the state might hand out 72 fraudulent licenses over a year, McSorley responded.

Padilla said other aspects of tax fraud are not being taken care of because the agency is spending so much time on tracking down foreign nationals improperly receiving drivers licenses. .

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About triptothecapitol

Trip Jennings is a Capitol reporter at the Santa Fe New Mexican.
This entry was posted in 2011 New Mexico Legislature, Immigration. Bookmark the permalink.

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