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State Probe Results in 225 Arrests in Phony ID Ring

By Mark Scott

New York City, NY – A state investigation has led to the arrests of 225 suspects who Governor Pataki says were engaging in the distribution of phony identifications.

The probe was conducted by the governor's Fraudulent Identification Task Force, a panel created in February to crack down on illegal IDs. Pataki said all 225 arrests were made in New York City.

"They have shut down six false identification mills," Pataki said. "They were creating thousands of documents, everything from passports to individual identifications to drivers licenses."

Pataki said many of the terrorists involved in last September's attacks possessed false IDs. He said it's essential that authorities crack down on those who engage in such illegal activity.

"I'll just refer to one case of an individual from the Middle East who came here illegally in 1995 and established a false identity in California," Pataki explained. "He then came here to New York where he established a second fraudulent identity. Under those two fraudulent names, he obtained student pilot licenses and was training to become a pilot."

Pataki said his state task force will continue to aggressively crack down in the distribution of phony IDs. He said this kind of investigation is needed nationwide.