UPDATE – Marion Rose Payne, age 55, of Harwood, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to produce and transfer identification documents without lawful authority, specifically, Maryland driver’s licenses.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore.

According to her plea agreement, from at least July 2015 through March 2016, Payne and Co-Conspirator 2 were both employees of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and worked in the Largo, Maryland branch office.  Payne’s duties at the MVA included the issuance of Maryland driver’s licenses.

As detailed in her plea agreement, Payne and Co-conspirator 2 conspired with Warner Antonio Portillo to produce and transfer Maryland driver’s licenses without lawful authority.  Specifically, Portillo and others met with prospective Maryland driver’s license applicants who were willing to pay money to obtain a driver’s license illegally, typically because the applicants were aliens without legal status in the United States or were otherwise unable to obtain a lawfully issued driver’s license.  The applicants paid Portillo and others between $800 and $5,000 in cash for each fraudulently issued Maryland driver’s license.

Portillo or the applicants gave Payne and/or Co-Conspirator 2 the names, addresses, and other information that applicants wished to appear on their Maryland driver’s licenses.  Portillo provided the applicants and Payne and/or Co-Conspirator 2 with fraudulent documents necessary to obtain a Maryland driver’s license, including proof of payment of taxes, proof of Maryland residence, a valid license number from Motor Vehicle Departments in other states, and an identification document.  Portillo and others assisted the applicants to travel to the Largo branch of the MVA, and directed the applicants to Payne’s or Co-Conspirator 2’s workstation, where applicants obtained Maryland driver’s licenses produced by Payne or Co-Conspirator 2 without lawful authority.  Payne knew that the documents used in support of the driver’s licenses were fraudulent.

For example, on January 6, 2016, January 12, 2016, and February 11, 2016, Payne and Portillo met in the parking lot of the MVA Largo Branch.  After each meeting Payne produced six, eight, and seven fraudulent driver’s licenses, respectively.  During the conspiracy, the documents provided to obtain the fraudulent Maryland driver’s licenses included at least four Virginia DMV licenses and a bank statement belonging to real people that were used multiple times during the conspiracy.  The conspiracy resulted in the unlawful production and transfer of at least 276 Maryland driver’s licenses.  In exchange for the improperly issued driver’s licenses, Portillo paid Payne at least $25,000 in cash and gifts.

Payne faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for the conspiracy.  As part of her plea agreement, Payne will also be required to pay a money judgment of at least $25,000, which constitutes assets derived from or obtained by Payne as a result of the conspiracy.  U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang has scheduled sentencing for August 3, 2022, at 2:00 p.m.

Warner Antonio Portillo, age 36, of Manassas, Virginia, previously pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended HSI for its work in the investigation and thanked the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Investigation and Security Services for its assistance.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly O. Hayes and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Mund, who are prosecuting the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

GREENBELT, Md. – A federal grand jury has indicted Marion Rose Payne, age 54, of Harwood, Maryland, on the federal charges of conspiracy to produce and transfer identification documents produced without lawful authority, the production and transfer of identification documents produced without lawful authority, aggravated identity theft, and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.  The indictment was returned on March 31, 2021.

The indictment was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner and Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore.

According to the indictment, from July 2015 to March 2016, Payne conspired with Antonio Portillo, age 35, of Manassas, Virginia to produce and transfer Maryland driver’s licenses while she was employed with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). Payne allegedly agreed to illegally produce, transfer, and sell Maryland driver’s licenses to unlawful applicants provided by Portillo.  According to the indictment, at Portillo’s direction, applicants were directed to Payne’s workstation at the MVA Largo Branch to obtain illegally produced and fraudulent driver’s licenses.   Payne allegedly received payment for each fraudulently issued driver’s license.  Payne is no longer employed by the MVA.

As detailed in the indictment and other court documents, prospective applicants paid Portillo thousands of dollars for each fraudulently issued driver’s license and additional funds for making the arrangements to obtain the illegal license.  Payne received names, addresses, and other information that applicants wished to appear on their Maryland driver’s license.  Portillo allegedly provided the information to Payne along with other fraudulent documents necessary to receive a driver’s license, including proof of tax payment for a two-year period, proof of Maryland residence, and an identification document.  Portillo also allegedly gave Payne, or caused Payne to be given, fraudulent documents purporting to show the applicants’ Virginia driver’s license numbers.  In fact, the Virginia driver’s license numbers depicted on the documents belonged to other real individuals who were not the applicants.  The indictment alleges that, using the information provided by Portillo, Payne produced and transferred, or caused to be produced and transferred, Maryland driver’s licenses produced without lawful authority to the applicants at the MVA Largo Branch.

According to the indictment, on January 7, 2016, Payne allegedly produced and transferred six fraudulent Maryland driver’s licenses, including licenses for three individuals that used the identity information of two victims. The license for individual 1 was allegedly fraudulently based on the Virginia driver’s license belonging to Victim 4. The licenses for the remaining two individuals were allegedly fraudulently based upon the Virginia driver’s license belonging to Victim 1. The indictment also claims that Payne met with Portillo and other individuals in the parking lot of the MVA Largo Branch.  Between January 7, 2016 and February 11, 2016 Payne allegedly created 35 fraudulent driver’s licenses, at least nine of which were based on the Virginia driver’s license numbers of at least five victims.

Antonio Portillo, age 35, of Manassas, Virginia, previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme.  He has not yet been sentenced.

Maryland Department of Transportation MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer stated, “Following the April 2016 investigation, MDOT MVA immediately cancelled all of the fraudulent licenses in question. Additionally, we implemented system changes to prevent the unlawful production and transfer of licenses and retrained staff to reinforce proper protocols. MDOT MVA has a zero tolerance policy for fraud, and we take pride in maintaining the highest standards in the interest of safety on Maryland roads.”

If convicted, Payne faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison for the conspiracy and for production and transfer of identification documents produced without lawful authority; a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for bribery involving an agent of a program receiving federal funds; and a mandatory sentence of two years in federal prison, consecutive to any other sentenced imposed, for aggravated identity theft.  The government is also seeking forfeiture of $138,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Payne is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt at a later date.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended HSI for their work in the investigation and thanked the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Investigation and Security Services for its assistance.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly O’Connell Hayes who is prosecuting the case.