A Charlotte woman has been arrested on allegations she helped orchestrate a scheme that issued phony vehicle titles to immigrants, the state DMV said Monday.
Alicia Garcia Morales, 36, was arrested Friday and charged with 39 counts of title fraud, registration fraud and accessing government computers for fraud, said Marge Howell of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Morales, a title clerk at an east Charlotte auto dealership, filled out title applications for car buyers who did not have valid state drivers licenses or other proper identification, Howell said.
Authorities allege Morales completed titles with information from passports for Mexico and Guatemala, voter registration cards from Mexico and international drivers licenses.
Howell would not say whether DMV inspectors believe Morales collected money for filling out the forms and would not divulge other details, saying the investigation is ongoing.
Arrests for bogus vehicle titles are rare, Howell said.
But just two weeks ago, the DMV arrested three Charlotte residents on charges of fraudulently obtaining titles and registrations. They filed fictitious business names with the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office and used them to title and register automobiles with false information, the DMV said.
Among those arrested was Felipe De Jesus Chavez, 33, who owns La Popular store on South Boulevard. DMV inspectors say they seized title and registration documents from the business. Chavez faces charges of possession of counterfeit merchandise, possession of heroin and selling prescription medication without a license.
Carisa Renee Barrett, 37, and Juan Francisco Feliz, 51, were also charged in connection with the fraud scheme. Observer researcher Maria David contributed.