BOSTON (CBS) — Scary.
That’s how one state investigator describes how sophisticated fake ID’s have become.
The I-Team has learned these identification cards have spawned a lucrative underground business. The issue has captured the attention of the state’s top law enforcement officer.
There you can get any ID you want. Pick a state, upload a photo and, in no time, you can be somebody else.
Caroline Guarino is a top investigator with the State Alcohol Beverage Control Commission. She teaches police how to spot fakes IDs. And she is concerned.
“Yes. It is actually pretty scary for us to see that they are these… high end counterfeit documents.”
That is right. The latest fakes are so sophisticated they are even fooling police. They have holograms and some contain the latest security features.
Guarino says “It is a huge public safety issue.”
WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports.
Just last week, Virginia investigators warned police departments across the country about idchief.com calling it “problematic.”
“It is a lucrative business,” said Guarino.
Investigators say 22-year-old Alex Theocles of Boston was doing an extremely good business from his posh Marlboro Street apartment.
Theocles was arrested in January and plead guilty this month to ordering 60 fake drivers licenses for college kids from idchief.com.
It is a deal worth $6,000.
But that was not his first deal; he did many through idchief.com.
Sources tell the I-Team Theocles was under surveillance for two years making thousands and thousands of dollars and possibly supplying as many 500 fake ids to college kids
Documents obtained by the I-Team show the high end fakes were shipped from Hong Kong and intercepted by federal agents in Ohio.
The case and its possible widespread implications caught the attention of the state attorney general who made the unusual move of having her office, instead of the local district attorney, do the prosecuting.
“It is always a concern when you consider the technology and speed with which people can obtain these identifications,” said Martha Coakley. “And it ranges the gamut from terrorist activities…. to criminals…. to kids who are looking for IDs for underage drinking.”
The judge ordered Theocles to perform community service at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Institute.
And there he might meet Jim Scott who knows too well the carnage caused by young drunk drivers.
Scott suffered a traumatic brain injury after crashing his car while drinking.
Today, he lectures kids about the dangers of drinking and driving. He says Alex Theocles should consider the pain fake IDs can cause.
“It is like giving kids a gun to play with. You are not intending that they will shoot themselves or hurt someone, but it can happen. And it never would have happened without you.”
As for Theocles, the judge did not send him to prison and for that the judge says he is very lucky.
This case actually started in New Hampshire two years ago when state alcohol agents made a decision to track down the source of some sophisticated phony IDs.