KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An employee at a contracted state license office pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to conspiracy to unlawfully assist more than 100 illegal aliens obtain fraudulent Missouri driver's licenses.
This guilty plea resulted from an extensive investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Revenue's Compliance and Investigation Bureau, and numerous other federal, state and local investigative agencies.
Thomas Richard McNamara III, 26, of St. Joseph, Mo., pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to unlawfully produce identification documents, to unlawfully transfer the means of identification of another person, and to commit Social Security fraud.
McNamara was employed at a contracted license office in St. Joseph during the time of the conspiracy. In September 2009, McNamara began conspiring with others to provide Missouri driver's or non-driver's licenses to illegal aliens who were not legally entitled to them based on the false supporting identity documentation provided.
Based on this operation, illegal aliens traveled across the United States to obtain licenses from this license office by using unlawfully obtained birth certificates and Social Security cards. It is estimated that more than 100 Missouri licenses had been unlawfully issued to illegal aliens as part of this conspiracy.
According to McNamara, it was common knowledge among the employees at the license office that co-conspirators were assisting illegal aliens to unlawfully obtain licenses.
McNamara admitted that he was paid $50 to $100 each time he accepted fraudulent documents from illegal aliens, who were escorted to the office by co-conspirators disguised as translators. These fraudulent documents included invalid Puerto Rican birth certificates and certain state-issued birth certificates in the names of other persons. After accepting these documents, McNamara issued licenses to the illegal aliens who had assumed the identities of others. The licenses could then be used by the illegal aliens to remain in the United States, obtain employment, and for other unlawful purposes.
McNamara admitted that he accepted improper documents about two to three times per week, but he didn't do this every week. Co-conspirators often called McNamara before bringing aliens to the license office to make sure he was working, and to inform him they were bringing clients. McNamara met with co-conspirators on numerous occasions during non-work hours at locations other than the licensing office to receive payment.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, McNamara must pay a money judgment of at least $125,000.
Under federal statutes, McNamara is also subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the U.S. Probation Office completes a pre-sentence investigation.
Numerous law enforcement agencies assisted the HSI-led investigation, including the following agencies: Buchanan County (Mo.) Sheriff's Department; the St. Joseph (Mo.) Police Department; the Platte County (Mo.) Sheriff's Department; the Missouri State Highway Patrol; the U.S. Social Security Administration's Office of Inspector General; and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.