May 17, 2017
Louisiana State Police have arrested a Metairie man they say is responsible for selling more than 400 illegal driver's licenses from two New Orleans locations of a title and notary company.
Alex Medina spent his 27th birthday in jail and court Tuesday (May 16), after investigators booked him with 420 counts of computer fraud and 420 counts of filing false public records in connection with the alleged scam run from offices of Central Title and Notary at 2107 Canton St. and 3157 Gentilly Blvd. Each of the counts is punishable by up to five years in prison.
According to arrest documents, the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles last August completed an audit of transactions at the company, which is contracted by the state agency to serve as a Public Tag Agent. PTAs are authorized to conduct limited OMV processes pertaining to vehicle titles, driver's licenses and state identification cards. They are able to renew licenses and ID cars, but are not permitted to issue new first-time driver's licenses or upgrade current driver's licenses.
PTA employees, however, have access to the same OMV computer network used for those functions. According to the court records, the audit revealed that Medina's employee number had accessed the network to illegally issue more than 400 new driver's licenses between May 2015 and July 2016.
To obtain a new first-time driver's license, applicants must submit to an OMV office a written examination, a road-skills driving test and proof they completed a driver's education course. A written examination also must be submitted at an OMV office to upgrade an existing license to a commercial driver's license (CDL). Only the OMV is authorized to complete such transactions and all applications, documents and tests required for those transactions are to be forwarded to the main OMV office in Baton Rouge, where such records are maintained.
State Police investigator Raymond Hughes, in his sworn arrest affidavit, wrote that illegal transactions carried out under Medina's computer login included the issuance of 398 new first-time licenses, 23 licenses upgraded to CDLs, and five new first-time CDL licenses.
Hughes wrote that the OMV provided a sample of renewal transactions that were properly completed by Medina during the same time, "indicating his ability to perform his correct duties."
Medina, represented by Covington attorney Ernest Bauer Jr., had bond set at $20,000 during his Tuesday appearance in Orleans Parish Magistrate Court. Prosecutor Michael Henn said the defendant has no prior convictions.
Bauer also requested permission for his client to return to his hometown in Penbroke Pines, Fla., should he make bond before his next scheduled court appearance on June 13. A decision on that request was deferred, pending written approval from a bonding company.