- Associated Press - Thursday, September 28, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - The owner of a Peoria, Arizona, business that provided Motor Vehicle Division services has been charged with fraudulently obtaining bank loans by altering a vehicle title and misusing MVD databases, the Arizona Department of Transportation said Thursday.

Tamica Lachelle Goree, 44, pleaded not guilty Sept. 21 to four fraud charges, according to Maricopa County Superior Court records.

ADOT said agency detectives began investigating after MVD discovered irregularities in records of Goree’s business, Motor Vehicle Southwest.

In addition to having MVD offices staffed by state employees, Arizona contracts with businesses with nearly 170 “third party” locations where state-certified processors handle transactions such as issuing vehicle titles and registrations and accepting driver’s license applications.

According to ADOT, Goree fraudulently added her name to the title of a 2011 Maserati sedan and then removed the lienholder from the title before using the vehicle as collateral for bank loans.

The department said Goree also is accused of using MVD databases to receive loans on a Porsche.

The MVD suspended Goree as a processor and closed her business, the department said.

Department spokesman Ryan Harding said the state’s investigation is ongoing and he could not provide the dollar amount of the loans.

Defense attorney Todd Nolan didn’t immediately respond Thursday to a request by The Associated Press for comment on the allegations.

An ADOT statement announcing the investigation and the charges against Goree said the irregularities were discovered as part of stringent monitoring of the private service providers.

A 2015 performance audit by the state Auditor General’s Office said MVD took multiple steps to safeguard customer data.

Along with providing training and requiring financial responsibility documents and criminal background checks of third-party providers, the agency conducts periodic audits and analyzes samples of transactions handled by providers, the audit said.

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