A former clerk at the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles was charged yesterday with taking part in a scheme to sell hundreds of fraudulent driver's licenses to immigrants mostly from the Middle East, south Asia and Russia.
The charges, contained in a federal grand jury indictment in New York, accuse the clerk, Gwendolynn Dean, 48, of Washington, along with Rafet Ozoglu, 41, of Brooklyn and Mustafa Ozsusamlar, 58, of Manhattan, with conspiring to sell fraudulent driver's licenses to immigrants for about $1,500 a piece. The indictment accuses the three of a scheme involving more than 900 such licenses, a number considerably higher than investigators initially thought.
In October, the three were charged with selling about 100 fraudulent licenses.
Dean, who is free on bond, was charged with two counts of identification fraud. She resigned her post Nov. 1. after seven years of service, DMV spokeswoman Regina Williams said yesterday. Dean could not be reached for comment, and Ozoglu and Ozsusamlar are in custody.
Although many of those who received licenses were not in compliance with immigration law, there was no report that any had links to terrorism.
"This indictment is part of this office's continuing efforts to vigorously prosecute false identification document rings and corrupt public officials that allow the rings to flourish," U.S. Attorney James B. Comey, of the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. "Such crimes are potential threats to our national security, as well as common precursors to other criminal activity."
The 13-page indictment charges that from January 2000 to June 2002, Ozsusamlar and Ozoglu drove groups of immigrants to the DMV office and helped them fill out applications with false D.C. addresses.
The immigrants were then directed to Dean's window, where she processed the fraudulent applications, the indictment charged. They were then driven back to New York, where, the indictment said, about 75 of them later exchanged their fraudulent District licenses for New York driver's licenses. Under a reciprocity program, New York routinely issues driver's licenses to New York residents who have driver's licenses from other states or the District.
The indictment also charges that Ozsusamlar used a fraudulent D.C. driver's license bearing the name "Missta Oscane" to rent a van to transport customers to Washington.
Ozoglu and Ozsusamlar, who both migrated from Turkey, face federal charges including bribery of a public official, transporting illegal aliens and document fraud.