- The Washington Times - Friday, August 27, 2004

Three persons were arrested at the Georgetown branch of the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles in connection with a driver’s license fraud scheme, authorities said yesterday.

FBI agents arrested Lisa B. Johnson, 41, a D.C. treasury clerk working at the DMV office, and Craig Calvin Hughes, 42, and Gregory Murray, 38, on Thursday morning. Miss Johnson was charged with taking bribes, and two men were charged with aiding and abetting.

An affidavit supporting the arrests does not say how long the scheme operated, how many licenses were sold or whether any documents were provided to illegal aliens.

Federal and local authorities have clamped down on document fraud in the District, after it was learned that seven of the 19 September 11 hijackers had obtained false identification documents in Virginia.

Anne C. Witt, director of the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, said yesterday her department is aware of the consequences of document fraud, especially when the city is on a heightened terror alert.

“The stakes are important,” she said. “I’m always concerned. That’s why I am vigilant about that. We’re on top of it every day and we initiate and refer all kinds of investigations.”

Mrs. Witt said she did not have the details of this particular investigation but that her department takes all such claims of fraud seriously.

“We cannot tolerate it, we’re not going to tolerate it, and we need everything about this operation to have credibility,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the FBI’s Washington field office could not be reached for comment yesterday.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the charges, investigators learned that Miss Johnson was taking money from customers “in return for her official actions relative to traffic fines, driver’s licenses and vehicle license tags.”

The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement notified the FBI in April that Mr. Hughes was serving as a middleman with Miss Johnson.

In July, undercover FBI agents contacted Mr. Hughes about obtaining driver’s licenses. Mr. Hughes collected $3,200 from the men and turned them over to Mr. Murray, who escorted them to the Georgetown DMV branch where Miss Johnson worked, the documents say.

She produced two driver’s licenses for the undercover agents on that occasion, and a third for another undercover agent about two weeks later. Agents arrested the trio Thursday after sending a fourth undercover agent to seek a driver’s license.

The three face up to 15 years in prison if convicted,

The Georgetown DMV branch, which was closed for most of Thursday and yesterday as federal agents continued their investigation, is expected to reopen Monday.

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