A former Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration employee pleaded guilty on Sept. 7 to a conspiracy to produce and sell counterfeit Maryland driver's licenses, some of which were for illegal immigrants.
Riverdale resident Michael Anthony Peters, 29, admitted to accepting bribes of $300 and $400 for producing illegal noncommercial and commercial driver's licenses between July and October 2007 while working at the Largo MVA. Authorities said Peters would falsify state records to indicate a person had passed the tests required to receive a Maryland driver's license.
Many of the persons who purchased driver's licenses from Peters were illegal immigrants, court records said.
During the time that Peters was involved in the conspiracy, he produced at least 40 Maryland driver's licenses, according to records.
"Michael Anthony Peters violated the public's trust and risked endangering our community by producing and issuing Maryland driver's licenses to individuals who could not or were not willing to legitimately pass the required MVA examination," said William Winter, the Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge of the investigation. "This type of fraud poses a serious security vulnerability and could put the security of our communities and even our country at risk."
Peters worked with two unnamed co-conspirators, who would direct persons to bypass the MVA's waiting process and go directly to Peters' teller window, where he would falsify records and issue the illegal licenses. Most of those who bribed Peters had failed either the written test, driving test or both, in some cases multiple times.
In one sale on or about Oct. 16, 2007, a person who had failed to pass the written driver's test paid Peters $500 to produce and sell a driver's license.
A driver's license for a new resident in Maryland costs $45.
Those that purchased driver's licenses illegally were identified in the MVA's customer transaction system and notified that they must return to the MVA to obtain a license lawfully, according to spokesman Buel Young.
Peters' sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 18 at the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised probation following his release from jail.
Peters is also required to pay $12,000 in restitution as a part of his plea deal.
A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the investigation into the MVA conspiracy is ongoing.