FHP Arrests Alleged Partner in PBC Driver’s License Scam

first_imgThe Florida Highway Patrol says a ring including a driving school owner, two instructors, and another man, allegedly helped at least 63 individuals to fraudulently obtain driver’s licenses at the Palm Beach County Tax Collector’s office in Greenacres.Officers have arrested at least 30 people who got the tainted licenses since the investigation began nearly two years ago.They arrested 33-year-old Isaac Zamora Martinez, of Hialeah, last Thursday, one month after tracking down his alleged partner, 62-year-old David Aguilar Hernandez.According to the FHP, the men agreed with Alejandro Rodriguez, who owned Rodriguez Driving School in Haverhill, to bring people to the Greenacres office and have clerk Norman Giddings issue the licenses.An FHP report reads, “Aguilar, Martinez, Giddings, and Rodriguez maintained a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud the PBC-Tax Office, the State of Florida, and its procedures as it relates to the issuances of Florida DLs.”Records show that Rodriguez has not yet been charged.Giddings died in February 2018, days before he was to be criminally charged, says Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon.Gannon adds that for people who are undocumented or otherwise ineligible, a fraudulently obtained license is concerning, as it allows them to obtain other documents in the same manner.Martinez was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail early Friday. A judge has set his bail at $15,000. He is facing five counts each of using false information to get a driver’s license, supplying another with an unlawful driver’s license, altering a public record and falsifying a record. He has also been charged with fraud of less than $20,000.Officials say that Martinez and Hernandez, who was arrested on August 14, used a car that was registered to Rodriguez.Giddings issued 20 sham driver’s licenses in November 2017. Eleven of those were for people who are listed as having used Rodriguez’s car for a driving test, but investigators say no such test was administered.The investigation also shows that in January of last year, Martinez and Hernandez brought in another 10 applicants who also received licenses after “passing” driving tests which they never actually took.FHP reports also show that some of the people paid Giddings as much as $450 for their licenses, while others gave Hernandez up to $500 to help them through the fraudulent process.Martinez admitted to officials that he worked for Rodriguez from 2014 to 2016, bringing up to seven applicants to the office every day. He denied that he participated in the non-existent driving tests, but could not explain why he was at the office on a daily basis.When investigators showed him video footage, he claimed he was helping people their fix ticket and license suspensions at no charge.Hernandez, of West Palm Beach, is currently charged with 17 counts of charges similar to those Martinez is facing. He left jail within two days of his arrest, after posting $10,000 bond.Like Martinez, he has also denied any involvement with fraudulent licenses, and said the video footage of him helping the people was coincidental, since he recruited customers for the driving school.last_img read more