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Audit: Arizona MVD third-party ID vendor oversight could enable terrorists

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(The Center Square) — The Motor Vehicle Division is not properly monitoring who third parties issue documents like licenses and vehicle titles to, at least according to a new report from the Arizona Auditor General.

“MVD has established statutorily required third-party quality standards and process, but third parties we reviewed did not comply with standards and process, including issuing some vehicle titles, driver licenses, and identification cards without evidence that individuals/entities were qualified and/or authorized to receive them,” the report found. “MVD has not sustained third-party monitoring and oversight processes consistent with our previous recommendations and has not held third parties to same standards as its own employees.”

Authorized third-party providers are companies that the state Department of Transportation uses to conduct services that would typically be done at an MVD office, but the report shows that insufficient oversight may have led to major problems with the concept. The primary concern is people getting documents “fraudulently” and then using them as a way to get away with larger crimes.

“Individuals who fraudulently obtain identification documents may do so to commit other crimes, such as fraud or acts of terrorism. For example, according to [American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators], driver licenses and identification cards are highly valuable to criminals because they can be used to perpetrate fraud and other types of crime,” the report states. “Additionally, AAMVA indicates that issuing driver licenses and identification cards containing false or inaccurate information might result in an individual being granted privileges they may not be entitled to.”

The audit says a fraudulent ID gives the impression that the holder isn’t a security threat when being checked at sensitive areas, “including boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.”

“Issuing Travel IDs to applicants who do not meet these standards could increase the risk of terrorism,” the report said.

As a result of the report, the ADOT agreed to six recommendations in order to improve the issues with third-party providers. Among the six recommendations are assuring “clearly defined performance requirements”, stronger policies to make sure documents are only given to individuals who are “qualified”, increased training, looking for third-party servicers who are performing poorly, and making sure the “quality assurance process” with third parties is similar to actual MVD offices.

“As outlined in its response, the Arizona Department of Transportation agrees with all the findings and plans to implement all the recommendations. My Office will follow up with the Arizona Department of Transportation in 6 months to assess its progress in implementing the recommendations,” Auditor General Lindsey Perry wrote in a letter to the state legislature, Gov. Katie Hobbs, and ADOT Director Jennifer Toth.

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