MADRID – The Guardia Civil and the Policía Municipal de Madrid have successfully dismantled a criminal organisation dedicated to obtaining driving licenses through fraudulent means.
The operation, named CARSHINOVEL, resulted in the arrest of 18 people associated with the illicit scheme.
The criminal organisation operated by impersonating individuals lacking the necessary skills to acquire a Class “B” driving license. These individuals, seeking to obtain a license, were approached through social media or trusted contacts by members of the organisation. Exploiting this vulnerability, the criminals engaged in identity theft, where individuals paid substantial amounts, ranging from €400 to €500, to have their identity replaced by someone more adept at passing the driving exams.
Prospective license seekers contacted the criminal group through social media or trusted intermediaries. Moreover, they willingly handed over their identification documents and the agreed-upon fee to the criminal group. Subsequently, the organisation proceeded to create fraudulent identification documents, entirely or by replacing the photograph with that of the impersonator. The surrogates, possessing sufficient knowledge, would then take the theoretical exam at the Traffic Headquarters. Moreover, the imposters were normally people with similar biometric features.
Surrogates took theory tests
After successfully completing the exam, the impersonated individual paid the remainder of the prearranged amount, totalling between 1,500€ and 2,000€.
Furthermore, the impersonators possessed sufficient knowledge to pass the theoretical exams, some completing them in as little as six minutes. While typically taking one exam per week, some went as far as taking two or three exams in a single week.
Points on driving licenses
Additionally, the criminal organisation employed a similar process for individuals seeking to regain their driver’s licenses due to a complete loss of points. In collaboration with a driving school, they accepted a specified sum of money and, without attending any courses, the school issued certificates of completion for sensitivity and reeducation programs.
Search and seizure
The operation spanned various Spanish provinces, with impersonators travelling to different locations to take the theory exams. Three residences, two in Madrid and one in El Ferrol (A Coruña), were subject to search and seizure operations. The raids targeted an undisclosed driving school and two hospitality establishments where document forgery activities took place. Police confiscated numerous pieces of computer equipment and mobile phones used in the creation and falsification of identity documents provided by the impersonated individuals.
Notably, one of the arrested individuals was caught in the act of taking the practical driving exam after having illegally passed the theoretical portion.
The operation remains ongoing as authorities analyse the seized material and documents. The objective is to evaluate the possibility of revoking the driving licenses obtained through this criminal organisation.
Also read: Fake driving licenses – 8 arrested