Former RMV Clerk Pleads Guilty to Participating in False RMV Document Conspiracy
BOSTON – A Boston man, who had worked as a Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) clerk, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston to conspiring to produce false RMV identification documents.
Rommer Valdez, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to produce a false identification document affecting interstate and foreign commerce. Valdez, who was charged in May 2015, is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young on Oct. 27, 2015.
The RMV, among other responsibilities, issues identification documents such as drivers’ licenses, learners’ permits, and state identification cards. To prevent people from obtaining a fraudulent identification document, the RMV has systems to verify whether applicants’ identity information is accurate. Valdez, who worked as a clerk at the RMV office in Watertown, was responsible for verifying that applicants’ identity documents were accurate, valid, and sufficient.
From approximately December 2010 through December 2012, Valdez participated in a conspiracy to help the conspiracy’s customers obtain authentic RMV-issued identification documents that bore their own pictures but other people’s identity information. Other co-conspirators obtained real identification documents for customers to give the RMV as proof of (false) identity. Before sending certain customers to the RMV with this proof, the co-conspirators sent Valdez the names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth for these identities and asked him to verify whether this information would pass the RMV’s checks. Valdez checked the information and told the co-conspirators whether it passed or not. If the information passed, the co-conspirators provided the documents to a customer who presented them to the RMV (although not necessarily at Valdez’s station) to obtain an identification document in that false identity.
On other occasions, the co-conspirators sent customers with false identification documents directly to Valdez at the RMV. When Valdez spotted such a customer, he signaled the customer to approach and submit his application and proof of (false) identity. Valdez then processed the application, knowing that the proof was fraudulent. He also let the customer or someone else helping the customer take whatever tests the RMV required, all using the false identity. Valdez knew that all these actions were illegal.
Valdez checked identity information for the conspiracy and knowingly accepted false proof of identity from customers multiple times, for multiple bribes.
The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss, whichever is greatest, and forfeiture. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; and Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott L. Garland, formerly of Ortiz’s Cybercrime Unit and currently with Ortiz’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.