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Ex-MVA employee pleads guilty in conspiracy to issue fraudulent driver’s licenses

A former employee of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration pleaded guilty Friday to producing fraudulent driver’s licenses for cash, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

Marion R. Payne, 55, of Anne Arundel County, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce and transfer identification documents without lawful authority, the office said. Payne faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and agreed to pay a judgment of $25,000, which is the amount she received for her role in the conspiracy.

Payne and an unnamed co-conspirator were both employees at the Largo branch of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, according to Payne’s plea agreement. Payne and the co-conspirator worked with another person, Warner A. Portillo, to produce fraudulent driver’s licenses for people who would pay money — typically people who were in the United States without documentation or who were otherwise ineligible for a driver’s license, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

People who wanted driver’s licenses paid Portillo and the others between $800 and $5,000 in cash for each driver’s license, according to the plea agreement.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Portillo provided the fraudulent documentation needed to obtain a driver’s license, including tax information, proof of Maryland residence and other identification documents. He then helped applicants travel to the Largo branch of the MVA and directed them to the stations where Payne or the unnamed co-conspirator were working.

The conspiracy led to the creation of at least 276 Maryland driver’s licenses, federal prosecutors said. Portillo paid Payne at least $25,000 in cash and gifts for issuing the fraudulent licenses.

The two met on multiple occasions in early 2016 in the parking lot of the MVA Largo branch, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. After those meetings, Payne issued several fraudulent driver’s licenses.

The fraudulent documents used to obtain Maryland’s driver’s licenses included four Virginia driver’s licenses and a bank statement that belonged to real people and were used multiple times during the Maryland conspiracy, the office said.

Portillo, 36, previously pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing.