DMV Flawed, Ex-Clerk Alleges
Michael Riley and Alicia Caldwell, Denver Post, Jan. 31
A woman accused of illegally selling Colorado driver’s licenses said desperate immigrants exploit a system with inconsistent rules, poor supervision and failed safeguards to easily obtain the coveted state identification.
Gonzalez is at the epicenter of a burgeoning multiagency investigation that is attempting to determine how widespread the illegal sale of driver’s licenses is in Colorado and whether a conspiracy exists among those accused of parlaying their access to the system for cash.
Gonzalez agreed to talk to The Denver Post on the condition that she not discuss the specific allegations against her. She’s accused of selling driver’s licenses to immigrants and others for as much as $2,500 apiece. An informant told police that he referred at least one “client” a month to Gonzalez over a period of three years.
As the sole Spanish-speaker at the Northglenn office until last year, Gonzalez may have issued hundreds of licenses to people with documents that appeared real but were not, she said.
She said DMV clerks and license examiners are frequently presented with false birth certificates or other identity documents that are easily forged and difficult to verify.
At one point several years ago, there was a sudden rash of Spanish-speakers walking into DMV offices with Puerto Rican birth certificates. By their accent, Gonzalez said, she knew they weren’t from Puerto Rico.
As a driver’s license examiner for nearly a decade, Gonzalez said she saw a system meant to secure the safety of the state’s roads continually fail.
She saw people who barely spoke English get a 100 percent score on English-language exams that allowed them to get hazardous-materials or trucking certifications.
(Posted on February 1, 2005)
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