Houston, TX – The fake documents printed in Texas are part of a national criminal enterprise that generated more than $200 million last year. Grand Prairie, Texas Police Chief Daniel Scesney recently lost an officer during an incident involving a suspect with a fake ID.
“November 14th, we lost officer Brandon Tsai in the line of duty. He was involved in a traffic accident while looking for someone who showed a paper license” Chief Scesney said.
He says that the death of Officer Tsai is one of the sad cases of criminals who have hidden their names with fake documents.
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The number of police incidents involving fake paper tags has tripled in the past six years. Andy Kahan works with Crime Stoppers Houston. He says these tags are one reason why many crimes go unsolved.
“We’ve had a lot of high-profile cases involving murders that have taken place involving papers,” Andy Kahan said.
Most of these tags are purchased from Texas car and truck dealers.
The director of the Texas DMV resigned in February, after much criticism over the matter.
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Now, it has also updated the paper’s temporary tags to include a national flag watermark and embedded data linked to a legal database. Some things are hidden.
“I think they are moving in the right direction, but here’s the problem: even with the redesign, nothing stops you today from your computer and creating a fake tag and printing it from your printer. In fact, I asked my staff to do it today, and it took about 45 minutes” Chief Scesney said, “I’m definitely interested in the paper tag. It’s very easy to make.”
Police and crime prevention officials say the change is a positive step, but expect more to be done.
“The next legislative session, which will start next month, I think you will see more efforts to reduce this industry that has just started to sell fake papers,” said Kahan.
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The June 2021 Texas House bill would allow the TxDMV to limit the number of tags licensed vendors can produce, and deny them access if they are found to be printing fake tags.
The TxDMV says these efforts have worked, so far.