Texas Paper Tag Crime Danger Goes Nationwide – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
There is new evidence of how fake Texas temporary license plates are putting people at risk not just in Texas, but across the country.
NBC 5 investigation has learned of other reports of crimes involving fraudulent tags from Texas as far away as New York and Nevada, where police say they are struggling to track the issue.
“We could spend every day looking for labels from Texan buyers, and we still wouldn’t find them all. It’s just that they’re everywhere here,” said Chief JD Decker of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles’ Compliance Enforcement Division.
Decker reports that many of these Texas tags are now being used by fraudsters trying to cover up stolen cars and dangerous salvage vehicles being sold to unsuspecting buyers.
In New York, the NYPD recently released surveillance video of a man posing as a police officer stealing gasoline from a gas station. The suspect drove off in a car with a fraudulent Texas paper tag, authorities say, and is still at large.
Our New York NBC station, WNBC, reports that temporary Texas beacons can be found throughout the city. And, just yesterday, police announced that 22 cars were seized with illegal paper plates in Brooklyn.
“Why is someone with a temporary license plate from a Texas dealer here in New York? You have to buy this vehicle in Texas,” said Terry Monahan and law enforcement consultant for NBC New York and former department head at the NYPD.
As NBC 5 investigation reported, scammers have been able to obtain car dealership licenses in Texas, allowing them to access the state system and create labels, which they can then sell illegally for huge profits.
The tags are often sold to people hoping to avoid paying for insurance and car registration. But they also uncover cars involved in crimes in Texas, New York and beyond, as the bad guys have figured out that these fake tags can be registered under false names and addresses, making them difficult for police to trace. .
In a county just outside of New York, police found Texas tags linked to a series of other crimes.
“30% of all vehicles stopped in Nassau County with these plates had weapons and/or drugs,” Monahan told WNBC.
In Nevada, where police say they see temporary Texas tags all over Las Vegas, they said they don’t see any fraudulent Nevada tags. DMV officials in Nevada say that’s because their inspectors visit dealerships in person to verify their identity before issuing them a dealership license.
“We have a very robust licensing program where the applicant is controlled, the location is controlled, the signage is controlled, and so it would be very difficult to register as a Nevada car dealer and gain access to this system if you weren’t. actually a Nevada dealer,” Decker said.
In Texas, the DMV does not meet with people applying for dealership licenses or fingerprint them, allowing people posing as car dealerships to cheat the system.
Police report seeing businesses that submitted dealer license applications using stolen identities and photos of photoshopped offices that don’t exist.
At a Texas DMV advisory committee meeting on Wednesday, members talked about plans to change that.
The committee asked staff to begin exploring the cost of hiring more inspectors or private contractors to conduct site visits of all applicants. The group also discussed the possibility of charging candidates a fee to cover the costs of these inspections.
Last year alone, more than 4,000 people applied for dealer licenses in Texas, making inspections a daunting task.
“They’re going to need money for computer systems, VIN verification, fingerprinting – site inspections, whatever they might need,” said advisory board member Mike Bradburn, a forces detective. of the order which investigates cases of label fraud.
But tackling the problem upstream could save cities time and money, Bradburn said, where police are now forced to clean up the mess.
In Dallas on Wednesday, Mayor Eric Johnson fielded questions at a city council meeting from a citizen complaining that cars with new paper tags were constantly turned off in a neighborhood. These tags are meant to be issued only when a dealer actually sells a car.
Johnson pledged to resolve the matter with the police.
“So, let’s reach out to Chief Garcia and Colonel DPS McCraw and see what we need to do to look into this. It may look like a paper tag factory,” Johnson said.
Dallas police have already conducted several special operations in the city, seizing dozens of tags, seizing cars and arresting people suspected of using the tags to cover up other crimes.
- February 28, 2022 – Smuggling permits: Drug cartels and smugglers use Texas paper tags to escape
- February 15, 2022 – Fort Worth Police Announce Special Operation Targeting Paper Tags
- Feb 14, 2022 – Crash Victim’s Parents Want More Cops Over Police Paper Tag Fraud
- February 13, 2022 – More funding needed to crack down on criminals using false paper Tags: Police
- February 10, 2022 – Police report drop in fraudulent labels, but Warn Crooks is adapting
- February 9, 2022 – Texas DMV shuts down six more dealers suspected of selling paper license tags
- February 7, 2022 – TxDMV director resigns amid paper tag mess
- January 27, 2022 – TxDMV Takes Urgent Action to Stop Scammers Selling Paper Labels
- January 21, 2022 – Dallas police operation targets fraudulent paper tags
- Jan 17, 2022 – Recording shows police tipped off TxDMV about paper tag security breach years ago
- December 16, 2021 – DMV Panel Recommends Fingerprinting of Some Dealerships to Slow Paper Tag Fraud
- December 14, 2021 – Texas House Transportation president pledges to end paper tag fraud
- December 6, 2021 – Texas DMV boss deflects blame for paper tag debacle
- November 23, 2021 – Illegal Paper Tags Cost Texas Taxpayers and Toll Roads Millions
- November 10, 2021 – Suspected paper tag peddler shuts down Tuesday, reopens Wednesday: Investigators
- November 8, 2021 – How Texas Paper Tags Became a $200 Million Criminal Enterprise: NBC 5 Investigates