Suspect in ID theft arrested
(Trenton) – A customer at the Division of Motor Vehicles agency in East Brunswick was arrested Monday for attempting to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license using a birth certificate with someone else’s name.
The customer, later identified by East Brunswick police to be Luis Galindo, told a DMV clerk that he needed a driver’s license to replace one that was lost. As a form of identification, he presented to the clerk a Puerto Rican birth certificate with the name Palmeri Mercado.
The clerk, who is of Puerto Rican descent, became suspicious of the document because the customer’s dialect and appearance were not consistent with those of people from the island commonwealth.
East Brunswick police were called and the customer was arrested.
According to DMV employees at the agency, the suspect identified himself as Luis Galindo. Galindo told police that he paid $800 for the birth certificate. The incident is currently being investigated by East Brunswick police.
"These latest arrests are further evidence of the Department of Transportation’s commitment to root out criminal activity and corruption in the DMV. I am more positive than ever that our document fraud training is working," said Acting DOT Commissioner Jack Lettiere. "And when the digital driver’s license system is in place, we will be one step closer to eradicating this type of fraud."
Jay Weiner, who manages the East Brunswick DMV agency, said police arrested a local teen on Friday for attempting to use his brother’s birth certificate to get a state identification card to prove he was the legal drinking age of 21. Two other customers ran out of the agency on Friday when confronted by clerks about their fraudulent documents, Weiner said.
Weiner was recently transferred from the agency in Freehold to address the problems in East Brunswick. During his eight years in Freehold, Weiner had 250 persons arrested for trying to use phony documents to secure licenses or registrations.
"Mr. Weiner is an integral part of our efforts to wipe out fraud and corruption at our agencies," said DMV Director Diane Legreide. "We are committed to fixing all that ails this agency."
In response to the growing problem of document fraud and identity theft, DMV immediately instituted document fraud training for the 500 employees at the department’s 45 agencies statewide. DMV staff, working in conjunction with the State Police, the Attorney General’s Office and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), developed a curriculum and a task force dedicated to training staff. The task force is being led by DMV fraudulent document expert, Joseph Vasil.
In the past four months, Vasil has conducted document fraud training classes for a total of 90 employees at nine DMV agencies.