Jose Ventura, Desiree Alvarado charged in Montgomery County driver license scam
A man and his girlfriend are in custody in connection with a scam involving fake driver licenses that targeted Hispanic people in Montgomery County.
Montgomery County Police say that Jose Luis Ventura, 33, and his girlfriend, Desiree Lauren Alvarado, 28, were arrested in late April on multiple charges, including possession of false government documents, theft and gun charges.
According to authorities, Ventura and Alvarado were allegedly telling people that they could legally get them Maryland driver licenses thanks to a connection he had inside the Motor Vehicle Administration. The two allegedly scammed multiple people out of thousands of dollars.
The plot began to unravel on March 12, when police say they pulled Ventura over in Silver Spring, where officers found fake ID cards, copies of other people's passports and personal paperwork and a handgun. A search warrant on a house he was known to stay at was then served.
During the execution of the warrant, police say they found even more documents, including IRS papers, passports and tax records belonging to others. An investigation revealed that Ventura and his girlfriend would allegedly target Hispanic people in an attempt to get them to pay him to get them a driver license.
He would allegedly charge each victim about $1,500 to $1,800 each and encourage them to recruit more people to purchase licenses from him. Alvarado would then allegedly drive the victims to an MVA office in Gaithersburg, where Ventura would meet the group and get the money from them.
After telling the victims that they were going inside to get the licenses, the two would allegedly disappear and have no further contact with the victims.
Montgomery County Police say they've identified at least 14 victims that met with Ventura on March 19 and another one who was victimized in early January. In total, police estimate Ventura scammed his victims out of about $24,200. Police also believe there are more victims who have yet to come forward.