ATHENS: Major fake ID investigation at UGA

6:21 PM, Nov 3, 2011   |    comments
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Some of the 300 fake IDs confiscated by University of Georgia Police.

ATHENS, Ga - University of Georgia police have the names of hundreds of students with fake IDs, and have offered those students a chance to cooperate in an ongoing investigation or face possible charges.

University of Georgia Police Chief Jimmy Williamson says it could be the biggest fake ID ring in campus history.

"It's obvious we've uncovered a fairly large manufacturing operation," said Williamson.

Students who have purchased a fake ID over the past year are being told if they surrender the ID and sign a statement, they won't be arrested. UGA police have confiscated about 300 fake IDs in the past week.

Chief Williamson says his investigators are trying to build a case against the manufacturers.

"It's like any case we work," said Williamson. "We'll let some of the folks at the bottom off if they'll turn state's evidence. If they're giving us evidence to help us make a stronger case against the manufacturers, we'll give them a freebie."

Williamson said his investigators have identified three manufacturers who used between 50 and 60 people to distribute the fake IDs. Williamson believes they were sold to at least 16-hundred students.

At least one of the manufacturers kept detailed records of who purchased the IDs, said Williamson. Investigators have confiscated computer hard drives.

"There's a good electronic paper trail," said Williamson. "It's everything I need to find the people who bought them."

Some students have voluntarily surrendered their IDs. Others got a visit from police.

"People are having cops come to their door," said Jackson Smith, a UGA freshman who says he knows people who purchased the IDs. "They came to their room, asked for their fake IDs, that was pretty much it. They weren't arrested, but they were pretty scared."

Chief Williamson says he's getting good cooperation so far.

"There have been some telephone calls we've made and people said they didn't believe us," said Williamson. "That's the chance they're taking. If they don't want to assist us, as we finish the investigation, we'll look at whether we pursue charges on those individuals."

Students purchased the IDs for between 70 and 100 dollars, according to Chief Williamson.

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