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STATE BUSTS HUGE FAKE-ID RING OPERATION SENT MATERIALS ACROSS NATION.

Byline: Troy Anderson Staff Writer

State officials announced the arrest Tuesday of the mastermind of a counterfeit driver's license operation suspected of producing fake IDs distributed in the San Fernando Valley and nationwide.

Attorney General Bill Lockyer said his office and the Department of Motor Vehicles broke what is believed to be among the largest operations involving driver's license fraud in the agency's history.

``These fake IDs predominantly were used by under-age college students who wanted to get into bars and buy alcohol,'' Lockyer said.

``This sophisticated operation, which provided the tools to manufacture fake driver's licenses throughout the country, not only contributed to the widespread problem of underage drinking. During these times of increased concern about financial privacy, ID theft and terrorism, this ring greatly enhanced the opportunity for criminals to establish fake identifications to commit fraud and acts of terrorism.''

In the criminal complaint, Jason Andrew Miller, 21, of Tempe, Ariz., was charged with producing hundreds of counterfeited driver's license laminates bearing the California DMV and California State seals and, in some cases, the magnetic strips.

Miller also is accused of selling those laminates to individuals who used them to manufacture fake driver's licenses. Miller is alleged to have charged $5.25 per laminate, 75 cents to generically encode each magnetic strip, and $2 for specific encoding of the magnetic strip.

The investigation conducted by the Attorney General and the DMV showed that Menux Inc., a company owed and operated by Miller, also manufactured counterfeited laminates consistent with the state of Texas, and offered for sale on his Web site laminates consistent with the states of Arizona, Oregon, Michigan and New Jersey.

The company operated over the Internet and shipped products using United Parcel Service to addresses in 41 states and the District of Columbia.

Miller is scheduled to surrender himself today in Sacramento County Superior Court. Judge Gary E. Ransom has set his bail at $250,000.

The Sacramento Valley High Technology Crimes Task Force, composed of members of the Attorney General's Office and the Sacramento Sheriff's Office, assisted in serving search warrants in Sacramento and Davis. Other high-tech task forces throughout the state passed on information to local law enforcement agencies for possible actions regarding individuals identified in the investigation throughout the state.

Shipping records obtained during the investigation show that Miller, doing business as Menux, sent 857 packages to various addresses throughout the United States, including 261 in California.

In California, the packages were sent to addresses in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Carson, Granada Hills, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Montclair, North Hollywood, Oxnard, Pacific Palisades, Panorama City, Pasadena, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redlands, San Bernardino, San Pedro, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Simi Valley and Westlake Village.

Troy Anderson, (213) 974-8985

troy.anderson(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 13, 2003
Words:461
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