PHOENIX — When the Phoenix Police Department suspected that a man in custody for drug and weapons violations had assumed someone else’s identity, it sought assistance from the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General.
ADOT detectives determined that man’s correct identity, confirmed he’d stolen the identities of two others and found that he was a sex offender who failed to register as required by state law for the past two years. He now faces additional charges of forgery and identity theft as well as having weapons charges upgraded to prohibited-possessor status.
Another recent case involving the Office of the Inspector General started when an application for credentials from ADOT’s Motor Vehicle Division raised suspicions. Detectives determined the applicant had fraudulently applied through the use of a stolen identity and also was being investigated by the U.S. State Department for fraudulently obtaining a U.S. passport.
The key in both cases: ADOT investigators, supported by technology such as facial-recognition software, detected identity theft as part of their mission of protected Arizonans’ privacy and information.
“The outstanding investigative skills of the Office of the Inspector General are recognized nationally and internationally,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “The implementation of various technologies like facial recognition and the investigative processes that uncover fraud have furthered the capability of the agency to protect the privacy and personal information of Arizona credential holders.”
These efforts complement those of ADOT Motor Vehicle Division customer service representatives, who are trained to detect forgery and fraud and perform the first checks for discrepancies in application packets. The recent adoption of facial-recognition technology enhances the screening process by allowing checks against customer records in the state’s driver license database, preventing fraudulent attempts to obtain a driver license or identification card.
As Arizona’s main agency issuing a driver license or identification cards, ADOT often is called on to aid local, state and federal law enforcement agencies dealing with cases that may involve forged identification documents and identity theft.
“Detectives with the Office of the Inspector General are highly skilled in conducting cases relating to identification documents, and we’re proud that those skills help agencies beyond ADOT protect Arizonans’ information,” Halikowski said.
ADOT’s Office of the Inspector General conducts investigations into fraudulent activities involving driver license/identification card applications, vehicles sales by licensed/unlicensed dealers, vehicle title/registration and providing investigative support to state, local and federal law enforcement agencies.