ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Two Jacksonville men who were arrested in Orange Park had 16 counterfeit driver’s licenses and 14 counterfeit checks, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office said the men got caught after one of them lost his wallet inside the BJ’s Wholesale Club on Blanding Boulevard.
It was at the BJ’s store where investigators say a 45-year-old Jacksonville man used a counterfeit driver’s license to open up a BJ’s account, but left the store not realizing he lost his wallet.
Store employees who found the wallet looked inside only to discover additional counterfeit driver’s licenses with the same picture but different names, the Sheriff’s Office said. Employees took photocopies of the IDs before the man returned to the store looking for his wallet.
Investigators said once he got his wallet back, he left and then returned to the store to open an additional BJ’s account with yet another fake driver’s license. But this time a deputy was waiting for him and took him into custody after finding even more counterfeit driver’s licenses.
The deputy also arrested a 30-year-old man who was sitting in a car outside for allegedly possessing six counterfeit driver’s licenses. In all, 16 fake licenses were confiscated.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said quick-thinking employees led authorities to this counterfeit scheme.
“The employees at BJ’s did an outstanding job because they smelled a rat,” Jefferson said.
One man confessed to using the fake IDs to make counterfeit checks which were also confiscated, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and the other man confessed to producing and using the fake IDs.
“It was an elaborate scheme. Just think if he had transferred that negative criminal energy into something positive. He could be a successful person in society but now he has to go to jail,” Jefferson said.
Court records show that back in 2013, one of the men was convicted of unemployment compensation fraud in Duval County. Between 2000 and 2006, he was convicted on multiple charges of fraud, counterfeiting and theft in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
This current case could involve 16 victims who have no idea their names were attached to counterfeit driver licenses.
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