Texas Attorney General Acts to Halt Sale of Fake Driver’s Licenses

April 11, 2008

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has charged a Houston company with selling fake driver’s licenses to immigrants.

An enforcement action filed by the Attorney General asked the court to stop the defendants, Centro de Identificaciones, and its owners, Guillermo R. Robles and Hernan C. Trujillo, from selling fake international driver’s licenses.

Harris County District Judge Grant Dorfman granted the Attorney General’s request for a temporary restraining order, prohibiting the vendor from continuing to illegally manufacture and market the false licenses.

The defendants were charged with multiple violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). According to authorities, the defendants marketed fraudulent “International Driver’s Licenses,” which they sold for $225 each. Advertising that targeted the Hispanic community indicated that the defendants’ “licenses” were authentic and would enable purchasers to purchase, insure and drive vehicles legally, according to the AG’s office.

The AG charges tht Centro de Identificaciones, which is Spanish for “Identifications Center,” made patently false statements in its Spanish-language advertising and marketed the illegal products in a campaign that spanned several states. The defendants’ advertisements claimed that the licenses are 100 percent legal and declared that the purchasers need not be state residents. Further, the defendants falsely indicated that their licenses would expedite buyers’ ability to purchase and insure motor vehicles. Finally, the defendants falsely assured buyers that the licenses are authorized under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

According to the Attorney General’s enforcement action, the defendants have never been authorized by the state of Texas, the U.S. government or the United Nations to sell and issue international driver’s licenses.

The Attorney General is seeking restitution for harmed individuals, as well as civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation and attorneys’ fees. Also requested are civil penalties of up to $250,000 if the defendants’ conduct was calculated to harm individuals aged 65 or older.

Source: Texas Attorney General’s Office

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