Two area men are among 107 people arrested through a high-tech facial recognition program employed by the Motor Vehicle Commission to detect individuals who obtain New Jersey driver’s licenses using false identities, acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced Thursday.
Carlos Shepard, 34, of Hammonton, was arrested for fraudulently obtaining a driver’s license in a false name after his license was suspended for writing bad checks. He pleaded guilty to tampering with public records in connection with the false driver’s license and was sentenced to 364 days in jail and four years of probation. His case was one of 69 announced Thursday.
Kirk Johnson, 50, of Vineland, was arrested a year ago after obtaining a driver’s license with a false identity after having his license suspended 18 times. His case was announced last year when the program was first showcased. He has since pleaded guilty to tampering with public records in connection with the false driver’s license and was sentenced to 364 days in jail and four years of probation.
Since Operation Facial Scrub was implemented in December 2011, MVC security professionals have reviewed 1.8 million matches. Of those, the MVC has referred about 985 potential criminal cases to the Attorney General’s Office.
Of the 69 cases announced Thursday, 17 of those charged had drunken-driving convictions, 12 of them multiple convictions. Eighteen involve individuals who used false identities to obtain commercial driver’s licenses to drive trucks or buses.
“We are aggressively pursuing these cases to get dangerous drivers off our highways and ensure that criminals cannot use this powerful form of identification to commit further crimes,” Hoffman said.