By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent

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.

Type into Google “I want a fake id” and web sites pop up, like

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 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

It is a deal worth $6,000.

But that was not his first deal; he did many through

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.

Comments (8)
  1. Ron says:

    In my college’s town, a bar made the local news because they invested in one of those portable scanners that can instantly verify if an ID’s valid. However, this same bar was known to locals as the place where you could get your ID verified and then pass it to the person behind you, IN FULL VIEW of the bouncer using the fancy device. As long they saw an ID for someone who was 21 and the machine said it passed, they were fine with it. You never needed a fake ID, you just needed 1 guy to actually be 21 and then everyone else that night could get in on his ID.

  2. K J Anderson says:

    The Liquor Store I work for in Boston has the Advanced ID Detection system. My boss spent alot of money on it but the first weekend using it we caught 43 IDs. This thing has a coumputer that magnifies the hidden security features, and does some type of xray and then tells you if the ID is good or bad. We had a regular barcode scanner and a black light before and we might have only caught 1 or 2 bad IDs a month now we are getting tons of them. These IDs are everywhere. Someone at suffolk told me that her friend opened a bank account no problem with an ID. Crazy

  3. Albert says:

    The news should not post links here! It will only cause our childern to see them and go to the site CBS you should remove the links.

  4. Nonames says:

    be careful with idchief. he ships from asia and may of his packages have been intercepted and people busted. order from they ship doemstic

  5. Rob says:

    Yeah the biggest problem in today’s society is 20 year olds getting into bars and buying booze but i guess the murderers, rapists, and thieves get a free pass talk about a messed up system just glad to see out tax dollars hard at work

  6. Vicky says:

    “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.”
    Oh really. It’s weird how when you’re 18 you can own a gun but you can’t drink.

    1. MICHAEL TAWAT says:

      I agree with you Vicky, also at 18 you can enlist in the U.S. ARMED FORCES (GOD BLESS YOU MEN/WOMEN THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE) but can have a drink after being in a firefight. The government will let you put a bullet in someone but you can not purchase alcohol to put in your body? You are old enough to kill but not drink………NICE1.

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