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Nevada DMV honored for Oct. 1 shooting response, fraud detection

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles was recognized for its post Oct. 1 shooting response and anti-fraud efforts at a nationwide awards ceremony last week.

The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) presented the state DMV the community service recognition and fraud prevention and detection awards at the 2019 AAMVA Region 4 Conference in Denver, last week. The awards are open to jurisdictions in the 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories and some portions of Canada.

Following the Route 91 Harvest festival massacre that left 58 dead and over 800 injured, many of the over 22,000 concertgoers left their personal belongings behind, including their driver’s licenses and identification cards, as they fled the dangerous scene.

To help those survivors carry out a myriad of tasks, including catching their flights home, use their credit cards and drive, the DMV sent staffers to the family relief center set up inside of the Las Vegas Convention Center to assist with those who needed an ID at no cost to them.

“At that point we had hundreds of people who lost or left their purses, IDs, wallets at the site and as they were escaping,” said Joe “JD” Decker, chief of the DMV compliance enforcement division. “We had a lot of people and there was a lot of confusion.”

The DMV worked with neighboring states to assist those affected receive a temporary or replacement ID.

“You can’t really do anything without your ID,” Decker said. “We’ll issue you an ID whether it be a permanent replacement or a temporary, just to get you home, so that they could fly or rent a car or that sort of thing.”

Those efforts helped 102 people get replacement or temporary licenses and netted the DMV the community service recognition award.

Additionally a DMV staffer thwarted an attempt by a man to obtain a state identification card using fraudulent documents. The man ended up being a wanted man out of Santa Clara County, California.

DMV field services technician Maria Huynh had a hunch the man was providing her with fraudulent documents when he tried to obtain an ID card and she referred the case to DMV investigators.

Huynh’s hunch was correct as it was revealed the man was awaiting trial for multiple counts of lewdness with a minor in California. He was arrested and extradited to Santa Clara.

“She contacted people in my division, which is basically the DMV police and we took a look at the documents and deemed them suspicious, if not fraudulent,” Decker said. “We then interviewed the person who presented the documents and determined his actual identities and discovered he was evading prosecution and a court order to remain in his county.”

Decker estimated the department makes a couple of hundred arrests per year, based off fraudulent documents issues and customers with outstanding warrants.

“We call it identity management, making sure that the documents that the people possess match their actual identities,” Decker said.

Huynh was awarded the fraud prevention and detection award for her role and was presented the honor in front of her peers at the Reno office.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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