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State Bureau of Motor Vehicles Closes Far East Side Location Due To Fraud

Ohio is shutting down one of its Bureau of Motor Vehicles branches in Franklin County. The agency had been issuing fake ID cards.

Customers who typically use the Scarborough Boulevard BMV agency to get their state-issued IDs will have to go somewhere else after June 26. The Ohio Department of Public Safety is closing the Far East Side location after a federal investigation found employees at the branch were involved in issuing phony state ID cards to illegal immigrants.

Public Safety Department spokesperson Linday Komlanc said the deputy registrar who runs the office - Jennifer Clemens - will lose her contract.

"This is the one of the first times that we've had this specific instance where we terminated a deputy for these reasons," Komlanc said.

In April, Michelle Eckerman, a clerk at the Far East Side office, was sentenced to 30 months of probation after pleading guilty to conspiracy for her role in the scheme. Federal prosecutors say Ohio was chosen for the ID scheme because its BMV offices have contracted workers.

Komlanc explains how the contract between the deputies registrars and the state works.

"The BMV is run by a registrar. So these are deputy registrars who are contract employees. We put out requests for proposals. They submit a proposal that includes their business operational plan, their hiring plan, things of that nature. And they are required to follow all BMV policies. And essentially they operate those services for the state," she said.

Komlanc said the closure is permanent. That particular branch has seven employees. Komlanc says they will not be transferred but could possibly apply for work at another BMV branch.

The Scarborough location was considered a medium traffic location - it served about 48-thousand customers last year.