Fraud Prevention and Detection: Investigations Individual

This award is presented to an individual who has made a specific contribution to thwart motor vehicle agency or law enforcement -related crime, such as a front counter clerk who recognizes an individual who repeatedly submitted transactions, a technician who detected title fraud, a special agent who discovered odometer fraud, etc.

This is an individual award and is awarded one per each region and among those, an international winner is selected.

Each agency may submit only ONE entry.

Criteria for selection:

  • Individual’s identified fraud or attempted fraud led to further actions to decrease fraud and/or the apprehension of the perpetrators
  • Individual’s actions were “above and beyond” normal job duties
  • Outcomes were measurable

2023 Winners - Motor Vehicle Individual

International and Region 1

Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration

Rose Bianca, Senior Investigator

Senior Investigator Rose Bianca at the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) has become the de facto contact for many financial institutions and government agencies for her efforts to thwart fraudsters using phony Maryland driver’s licenses and/or identification cards to obtain money and goods. In the past year, Rose has conducted 230 investigations at the request of financial institutions by verifying Maryland driver’s licenses, identification cards, vehicle titles, liens, and tag numbers. With Rose’s assistance, several financial institutions prevented numerous accounts from being opened with fake identification. Rose’s efforts during the last year saved Maryland financial institutions nearly $200,000 in fraudulent losses. Recently, Rose verified a fake ID and helped identify the culprit who opened three accounts at a financial institution worth $45,000. The organization reached out to Rose on a Saturday, and she quickly confirmed there was no product on record for the fraudster. Because of her quick action, the organization was able to lock down the accounts to prevent any further loss and save $26,000. Rose’s work ultimately led to criminal ID theft charges being filed against the fraudster. Rose also partnered with the Maryland Department of Labor which experienced a surge in unemployment claims during the height of the COVID19 pandemic. The Labor Department’s efforts to distribute Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Benefits to eligible workers unfortunately attracted many fraudsters and identity thieves, who took advantage of the program. Rose regularly assisted the Labor Department in quashing fraudulent unemployment claims by verifying both Maryland and out of state identity products. Additionally, Rose is MDOT MVA’s Identity Crime Program Manager at the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC). In her role at the MCAC, Rose provides training to law enforcement personnel and financial institution investigators on how to identify fraudulent Maryland identity products. Rose’s forty-five years of experience has enabled her to create these partnerships and she has become the “go to” person in Maryland for any questions regarding counterfeit and/or altered identity products.

Region 2

Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles

Cristian "Cris" Machidon, Senior Motor Vehicle Investigator

In May 2022, Senior Motor Vehicle Investigator Cris Machidon was assigned to investigate and successfully developed a complex case involving Evo Auto Sales LLC and its associated persons. The case was initially opened based on a complaint from a lienholder on a 2017 Mercedes sold through the dealership (then known as Speed Auto Sales) using a New York title with no lien reflected. Investigator Machidon identified the existence of an ongoing auto theft and illegal export scheme of more than 60 high-end luxury vehicles, which had been titled in Florida by the suspects through the use of lien-stripped New York and New Jersey titles, and counterfeit Arizona titles. Investigator Machidon has served an integral role in escalating this now multijurisdictional effort through coordination with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Florida Office of Financial Regulation, Bureau of Financial Investigations, and out-of-state DMV Investigators. The coordination and evidence he compiled through in-person interviews, records inspections, and elaborate queries through multiple systems served as a major contributing factor and led to significant results. In early October 2022, more than 12 suspects were arrested by MDPD on charges of grand theft. A total of 15 vehicles have been recovered to date.

Region 3

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles

David Wood, Investigator

Investigator David Wood conducted a lengthy and thorough investigation into an auto theft organization. His efforts helped to spearhead law enforcement collaboration to identify and recover 9 stolen vehicles. Additionally, his investigation and subsequent charges exposed a corrupt license agency employee and dismantled the criminal syndicate. Investigator Wood initiated this investigation in November 2020 when he was contacted in reference to a vehicle that was taken for a test drive and never returned by the suspect. After collaborating with law enforcement agencies, numerous stolen vehicles were recovered. Additionally, he reviewed patterns of Ohio temp tag registrations issued and identified and filed charges on a corrupt license agency employee that was issuing temp tags to help cloak the identities of the stolen vehicles. Wood identified and filed charges on two individuals who accepted cash payment to utilize stolen identities and purport to be the other person to secure Ohio temporary tag registrations for the stolen vehicles. The two individuals who obtained the fraudulent registrations within the license agency were sentenced to periods of probation. The corrupt license agency clerk pleaded guilty to amended charges and was sentenced to 18 months at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to be followed by 3 years post-release control for her role in support of the conspiracy from inside a Deputy Registrar’s office. Ultimately, the case was completed when the main suspect was charged with felony counts of tampering with records, forgery and theft. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a total of 7 years in prison for his role as the leader of this conspiracy.

2023 Winners - Law Enforcement Individual

International and Region 2

Florida Highway Patrol

Tyler Sheinberg, Investigator

On October 2021, Investigator Tyler Sheinberg was assigned Lead Investigator, as part of the Florida Highway Patrol's Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Intelligence (BCII), for the criminal investigation of fraudulent vehicle titles. The two suspects were responsible for illegally importing 348 vehicles from Japan into the United States. Due to investigative time constraints, resources available, and to simplify the overall investigation, the title and registration for 5 of the 348 vehicles were initially thoroughly reviewed. These 5 vehicles are rare sports cars and are well sought after in the United States by the import enthusiast. Investigator Sheinberg learned that the suspects were fraudulently plagiarizing most of the forms that are required by law to title a vehicle in the State of Florida. The Customs Border Patrol Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team provided Investigator Sheinberg a report that indicated that all the 5 vehicles described above were introduced to the United States contrary to law and are not in compliance with applicable rules and regulations. Investigator Sheinberg conducted 40 interviews, surveillance, and requested many subpoenas to identify both suspects business locations and residences. He also learned how the suspects were washing the titles so they could move the vehicles with being detected by the State of Florida. He also identified 4 additional associated companies that the suspects were operating to conceal the fraudulent activity. After a comprehensive examination of the suspects bank accounts, Investigator Sheinberg was able to able to link $399,635.99 to the sale of fraudulent vehicles through bank activity reported on monthly statements, with $240,776.00 of those funds linked to deposited checks from sales. It is believed that these are the bank transactions to acquire the vehicles being fraudulently titled and sold in Florida. On July 22, 2021, a court-authorized search warrant was executed at the residences of both the suspects and their place of business. The U.S. Department of Transportation and Homeland Security Investigations seized four (4) illegally imported vehicles located within the J-Spec Garage LLC's business.

Region 1

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles

Shawn Taylor, Senior Investigator, Division of Field Investigation

Since 2020, The Capital District of NY has seen a spike is the use of out of state temporary certificates of registration. At that time the New York State DMV’s Division of Field Investigation received several complaints of specific vehicles known to be operating with fraudulent temporary certificates of registration within the Schenectady County area. Investigator Shawn Taylor initiated several investigations with the cooperation of our law enforcement partners. He secured evidence which led to several successful search warrants. Ultimately this resulted in the arrest and convictions of multiple individuals responsible for the production and sale of these fraudulent certificates of registration in and around the Albany area. Taylor worked diligently with motor vehicle partners throughout the nation to expand his knowledge in identifying these false documents. All this while the scope of his own investigations expanded across New York State. These investigations led to additional arrests and convictions of those illegally producing, selling, and purchasing fraudulent temporary certificates of registrations. As the result of his expertise, Shawn has become a resource in identifying these fraud documents for all law enforcement across the state of NY. Ultimately, he has been instrumental in coordinating and conducting ongoing joint patrol efforts with other agencies targeting operators using suspicious temporary registrations. Numerous stolen vehicles have been recovered. Many felony arrests have been made for outstanding warrants, possession of stolen property, and illegal possession of guns and drugs. Taylor continues to work with law enforcement throughout NYS to assist and educate his partners. His efforts have been instrumental in combatting motor vehicle fraud across NYS.

Region 3

Iowa Motor Vehicle Division

Jason Nusbaum, Investigator, Iowa Department of Transportation, Bureau of Investigation & Identity Protection

Jason Nusbaum has been a motor vehicle investigator with the Iowa DOT Bureau of Investigation and Identity Protection for the past 7 years and has been a certified peace officer for 14 years. Jason became aware of an individual that was involved in several fraud schemes that also involved identity theft and fraud surrounding the purchase of a motor vehicle. This case involved the suspect using false identity information to proctor the knowledge exam for a family member. The fraudster made an online application to the Iowa DOT to proctor the knowledge exam for her son to obtain his driving permit. To do so, the proctor must have a valid Iowa driver’s license however the fraudster had a driving status of barred. Therefore, she provided a false Iowa Driver’s License on the application, allowing her to fraudulently proctor the exam. She also fraudulently purchased a 2011 Dodge Nitro from a motor vehicle dealership. She provided the dealership with a counterfeit Iowa Driver’s License and provided the dealership with a personal check that was returned as insufficient funds. Due to this fraudulent purchase, the vehicle was entered into NCIC as stolen. After the vehicle had been recovered Investigator Nusbaum was able to inspect vehicle and determined the Iowa DOT temporary registration displayed was counterfeit. A search warrant was conducted at the residence of the fraudster. During the search of the home various counterfeit documents were located including bank checks, 2 counterfeit driver’s licenses, 19 counterfeit Iowa DOT temporary registration tags, and 1 Tennessee License.