Green belt, Maryland – Marion Rose Payne, 55, of Harwood, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to produce and transfer identity documents without lawful authority, specifically Maryland driver’s licenses.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore.
According to his plea agreement, from at least July 2015 to March 2016, Payne and co-conspirator 2 were both employees of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and worked at the Largo, Maryland branch. Payne’s duties at the MVA included issuing Maryland driver’s licenses.
As detailed in his plea agreement, Payne and co-conspirator 2 conspired with Warner Antonio Portillo to produce and transfer Maryland driver’s licenses without legal authority. Specifically, Portillo and others met potential applicants for a Maryland driver’s license who were willing to pay to obtain a driver’s license illegally, usually because the applicants were aliens without legal status in the United States or were unable to obtain a legally issued driver’s license. Plaintiffs paid Portillo and others between $800 and $5,000 in cash for each fraudulently issued Maryland driver’s license.
Either Portillo or the plaintiffs gave Payne and/or co-conspirator 2 the names, addresses, and other information the plaintiffs wanted to appear on their Maryland driver’s license. Portillo provided Plaintiffs and Payne and/or Co-Conspirator 2 with fraudulent documents necessary to obtain a Maryland driver’s license, including proof of payment of taxes, proof of Maryland residency, license number valid from other state motor vehicle departments and an identification document. Portillo and others helped the candidates get to the MVA’s Largo branch and directed them to Payne’s or Co-Conspirator 2’s work station, where the candidates obtained Maryland driver’s licenses produced by Payne or co-conspirator 2 without legal authority. Payne knew that the documents used in support of the driver’s licenses were fraudulent.
For example, on January 6, 2016, January 12, 2016, and February 11, 2016, Payne and Portillo met in the parking lot of the MVA Largo branch. After each meeting, Payne produced six, eight and seven fraudulent driver’s licenses respectively. During the conspiracy, the documents provided to obtain the fraudulent Maryland driver’s licenses included at least four Virginia DMV licenses and a bank statement belonging to real people which were used repeatedly during the course of the conspiracy. The conspiracy resulted in the illegal production and transfer of at least 276 Maryland driver’s licenses. In exchange for the misissued driver’s licenses, Portillo paid Payne at least $25,000 in cash and gifts.
Payne faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for conspiracy. As part of his plea agreement, Payne will also be required to pay a monetary judgment of at least $25,000, which constitutes assets derived or obtained by Payne as a result of the conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang set sentencing for August 3, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.
Warner Antonio Portillo, 36, of Manassas, Va., previously pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended HSI for its work in the investigation and thanked the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s Investigation and Safety Services for its assistance. Barron thanked Assistant US Attorney Kelly O. Hayes and US Special Assistant Attorney Brian Mund, who are pursuing the case.
For more information about the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and the resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md /community-outreach.
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