LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) - Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced on April 2 that a Washington County judge has granted his motion to order an out-of-state driver's license seller to stop doing business in the state.
Beraca Publishing Inc., a Virginia-based company, will also pay the state $530,165 for allegedly selling fake international driver's licenses.
McDaniel filed suit against the company in November 2010 for allegedly selling cards that were invalid for legal identification despite appearing official. The company called the products U.S. ID Cards or International Driver's Licenses.
Washington County Circuit Judge Kim Smith granted McDaniel's motion for summary judgment against the company and Miguel Lazarte, its owner. The defendants must pay $520,000 in civil penalties and $10,165 for attorneys costs and fees. The defendants may no longer sell the ID cards and must cease advertising the cards for sale in the state. Smith found that Beraca and Lazarte's actions were in violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
"We are grateful for the court's judgment against this company and its owner, who were deliberately misleading Arkansas consumers into believing their identification cards were acceptable as driver's licenses or government-recognized identification," McDaniel said. "The defendants, through their deceptive practices and advertisements, targeted consumers who might not be familiar with official ID cards."
Beraca advertised the licenses on the internet and in a periodical distributed to Hispanic communities throughout the United States. The advertisements allegedly claimed that the ID cards were valid in all 50 states. The ID cards sold for $40, while the International Driver's License sold for $100.