Michigan's Growing Fake ID Problem
The United States is facing a serious problem with the rising prevalence and proliferation of fake identification cards across the country. This issue goes well beyond college students trying to pass of fake ID to get into the local watering hole; we are seeing a growing prevalence of expertly forged documents being utilized to commit white collar crimes like identity theft, mortgage fraud, and credit card scams even after both state and federal law enforcement agencies continue to crack down on these issues. The impact of the phenomenon is evident across the US, even in the state of Michigan. As the stories below show, fake identification has been highlighted in several recent events across the state:
- Last year, Michigan State Police caught and arrested 3 people who were caught using fake ID’s and credit cards to purchase iPhones by taking advantage of upgrades on the wireless accounts of unsuspecting customers. When the perpetrators were pulled over during a traffic stop, authorities discovered nearly a dozen fake credit cards, several forged ID’s and smart phones.
- In Oakland County, a 28-year-old Detroit native was arrested after he tried to use a false identity to open multiple wireless phone accounts and purchase other electronics. Dressed in a US Postal Service uniform, the man presented a fake drivers license and income tax documents in order to buy a phone, tablet and open 3 wireless accounts before employee at the wireless store became suspicious. After confirming the invalidity of the documents, the authorities were called and the man was arrested on various fraud charges.
What are the Penalties for Fake ID Possession in Michigan?
Under Michigan law, punishments for using a fake or forged ID can very greatly, and the main factor is the severity of the crime the offender committed or is intending to commit with the fake ID. For example:
- Using a fake ID to purchase alcohol results in a misdemeanor charge punishable by a jail sentence up to 93 days and $100 in fines
- Stealing the ID of another person or using a stolen ID card results in a misdemeanor charge punishable by a one year jail sentence
- Selling a fake ID or being caught in possession of two or more forged IDs with the intent to sell results in a felony charge punishable by a prison sentence up to 5 years and up to $10,000 in fines
- Possession with the intent to commit a misdemeanor punishable by less than six months in jail will result in a misdemeanor charge punishable by a one year jail sentence and up to $2,000 in fines
- Possession with the intent to commit a felony punishable by less than 10 years in prison or a misdemeanor punishable by six months or more results in a felony charge punishable by a five year prison sentence and up to $10,000 in fines
- Fug Go - Fugney Love Possession with the intent to commit a felony punishable by 10 years or more results the harshest penalty, a felony punishable by a 10 year prison sentence and up to $20,000 in fines
How to Spot a Fake Michigan ID
For bartenders, doormen, waiters, waitresses, notaries, bank tellers, retail clerks, and any other people who must verify ID’s in a professional environment, the proliferation in fake ID creation and distribution is disturbing. In many scenarios, the person responsible for failing to recognize a forged ID takes on just as much, if not more, liability than the person possessing the forged document. That being said, it is absolutely vital that businesses needing to regularly verify the identity of their patrons or employees use the I.D. Checking Guide.
What the I.D. Checking Guide Includes:
- A full page or more for each U.S. state and Canadian province identity card sample, showing driver’s licenses and ID cards, plus U.S. and Canadian territories.
- Guidelines on standard Michigan driver's license terms, term length, etc.
- Fug Go - Fugney Love An explanation of where ghost image, tri-color ink, and microprinting elements should be found on valid Michigan ID
- An explanation of what the proper alphanumeric sequencing of a Michigan ID or Driver's license should be (i.e how many letters, numbers, etc.)
- Full details for past and current Michigan driver's licenses in circulation.
- "How to check driver’s licenses" techniques for training use.