FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
January 21, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONSPIRATOR IN SCHEME TO SELL FRAUDULENTLY ISSUED MARYLAND DRIVER’S LICENSES SENTENCED TO FOUR YEARS IN PRISON
Conspirators Sold Driver’s Licenses Fraudulently Issued from the Largo Branch of MVA
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. sentenced Natalie Palmer, age 35, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, today to four years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for her participation in a conspiracy to produce and sell Maryland driver’s licenses to individuals who were not entitled to obtain the licenses lawfully. Judge Williams also entered a forfeiture judgement against Palmer for two vehicles and a semi-automatic pistol.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Irvine of the U.S. Secret Service - Washington Field Division; U.S. Marshal Johnny Hughes; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; John Kuo, Director of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration - Investigation and Security Services Division; and Special Agent in Charge Theresa R. Stoop of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
According to Palmer’s plea agreement and testimony in a related case, from July 2008 to January 3, 2009, applicants for Maryland driver’s licenses who were not entitled to obtain the licenses lawfully paid Palmer and her husband, Patrick Gordon, thousands of dollars to obtain fraudulently issued Maryland driver’s licenses. Palmer and Gordon gave the names, addresses and other information that applicants wished to appear on their driver’s licenses to Avanti Blackwell, a former employee of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). Blackwell forwarded this information to Evita Baker, an MVA employee who worked Saturday shifts at the MVA’s Largo Branch. Palmer and Gordon helped the customers travel to the Largo Branch and then directed them to Baker’s workstation to obtain the unlawfully produced driver’s licenses. Palmer paid Baker and Blackwell $2,000, to be shared between them, for each fraudulently issued Maryland driver’s license that Baker produced and transferred to the customers.
The conspirators received a total of approximately $162,500 from approximately 65 applicants who sought to obtain unlawfully produced driver’s licenses.
Avanti Blackwell, age 25, of Accokeek, Maryland and Evita Baker, age 24, of Forestville, Maryland previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme. Their sentencing dates have not been set. Palmer’s husband, Patrick Gordon, age 32, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, was convicted after trial for his role in the conspiracy and sentenced to 37 months in prison on October 19, 2009.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Pauzé and Robert K. Hur, who prosecuted the case.