News Article

High Tech System Detects License Fraud

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. February 12, 2013

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State officials show how Operation Facial Scrub works (photo by Phil Gregory)


New Jersey is using a new facial recognition system to detect people who obtain driver’s licenses using false identities.

In what’s called Operation Facial Scrub, Chief Administrator Ray Martinez says the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is using the technology to search its 19 million photo record database to identity duplicate photos that indicate fraud.

“It is measurements on things on your face that essentially you cannot change or you’d have to go to extremely great lengths to do that. A beard is not going to do that. A mustache is not going to do that. A change on your hair style is not going to do that.”

In the first wave of prosecutions, Attorney General Jeff Chiesa says criminal charges have been filed against 38 people.

“These 38 cases include individuals who were using false identities to run from their criminal pasts so the public and potential employers wouldn’t know. In other instances the defendants have repeatedly been convicted of drunken driving or have had their licenses suspended for drunken driving.”

In eight of those cases Chiesa says false identities were used to obtain commercial licenses to drive trucks or buses.

“When you hear about folks with multiple DUI convictions, sex offenders who are able to get licenses to operate those school buses and quite frankly licenses to continue to drive on our roads, it certainly is a stark reminder that this is the kind of thing that we need to be putting assets in.”

Chiesa says the technology can potentially uncover other types of crimes including identity theft, financial fraud, and terrorism.

NPR

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