Upper Marlboro Man Sentenced to over 3 Years in Prison in Scheme to Sell Fraudulently Issued Maryland Driver’s Licenses

Conspirators Sold Driver’s Licenses Fraudulently Issued from the Largo Branch of MVA

October 19, 2009

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. sentenced Patrick Gordon, age 32 of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, today to 37 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for his participation in a conspiracy to produce and sell Maryland driver’s licenses to individuals who were not entitled to obtain the licenses lawfully, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to testimony at Gordon’s one week trial, from July 2008 to January 3, 2009, applicants for Maryland driver’s licenses who were not entitled to obtain the licenses paid Gordon and his wife, Natalie Palmer, thousands of dollars to obtain fraudulently issued Maryland driver’s licenses. Gordon and Palmer 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. Gordon and Palmer helped the customers travel to the Largo Branch and then directed them to Baker’s workstation to obtain the unlawfully produced driver’s licenses. Gordon and 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 at least $128,000 from approximately 64 applicants who sought to obtain unlawfully produced driver’s licenses. The government seeks forfeiture of this amount, plus two vehicles and a semi-automatic pistol.

Avanti Blackwell, age 24, of Accokeek, Maryland; Evita Baker, age 23, of Forestville, Maryland; and Natalie Palmer, age 35, of Upper Marlboro, previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme. No sentencing dates have been set for them.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration - Investigation and Security Services Division and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Pauze and Robert K. Hur, who prosecuted the case.

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