An anti-fake ID bill would put the creators of illegal documents in jail for double the time.
State Sen. Jose Peralta’s (D-East Elmhurst) bill, which passed in the Senate last Thursday, upgrades the penalty for manufacturing phony government documents from a Class D to a Class C felony. Current laws allow kids caught using a fake ID to buy alcohol to face the same punishment as someone churning out forged Social Security cards and passports. This bill would change that.
Instead of serving two and a half years in jail, convicted fake ID peddlers would serve five to 15 years, with a fine of up to $15,000 and a 30 percent court fee.
The state prosecutes counterfeit crime rings through the enterprise corruption statute and various forgery statutes, according to Queens district attorney spokesperson Kevin Ryan. Peralta said his bill takes away some of the loopholes those statutes have and slaps forgers with heftier charges.
A group of 18 fake ID producers — including 14 with ties to the violent street gang M18 based in Jackson Heights —were charged in September 2011 for the production of documents such as resident alien cards and Social Security cards.
“If Sen. Peralta’s bill had been in effect, the defendants would have faced 15 years in prison, instead of seven years,” Ryan said.
Peralta indicated that Roosevelt Avenue between 75th to 103rd streets is the epicenter of fake IDs. “There are ten or more mills here,” he said.
The bill targets these mills and also puts some heat on the vendors. His hope is that the potential of a steeper jail sentence for all will lead to the “big fish.”
The Fake ID law would also distinguish between the less dangerous maker of MetroCards and individuals creating government IDs, that could potentially threaten national security, Peralta said.
The bill is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights).
“We’re trying to make a big push and get it out of committee,” said Moya, who was uncertain how the bill would fare.