TRENTON, N.J. – Tougher security measures at New Jersey's 45 offices that issue driver's licenses have led to the arrest of 750 people within a year, for fraudulently attempting to obtain licenses.
In some cases, authorities raided rings producing and selling fake licenses. In a dozen instances, state employees were arrested.
As part of the fraud crackdown, officials imposed stricter identification requirements for license applicants, stationed uniformed police in many agency offices and trained employees to better spot fake documents.
The initiative was aimed at turning around the state's reputation as an easy place to obtain bogus driver's licenses or fraudulently get real ones.
A year into the campaign, state officials have begun putting 450 security cameras at motor vehicle agencies. All offices are due to have cameras by the end of the year.
The arrests were made by state, federal and local police between July 1, 2003, and July 9, 2004. Since the start of the year, authorities have launched 1,400 investigations involving motor vehicle offices.
Officials said 134 arrests were people attempting to use fraudulent Social Security cards to get licenses. Another 106 were caught using bogus birth certificates, while 98 had phony stamps on visa documents and 78 produced fake insurance documentation.
Locations of the arrests were revealing. The office in Egg Harbor Township in Atlantic County, had 66 arrests, topping 20 in Newark and 22 in Elizabeth. Jersey City had nine arrests.
The most charges were for the sale of simulated documents, forgery and tampering with public records. Officials were unable to provide information on how many arrests have resulted in convictions.