ATHENS, Ga. -- A Clarke County grand jury has indicted 16 University of Georgia students and four others who are accused of producing and distributing fake IDs.
The ring was led by two roommates who provided door-to-door services. Officials say they used couriers to take customers' photos in their dorm rooms, collected personal information for the IDs and delivered the products for between $50 and $100.
READ | Georgia law on Identify Theft relating to Fake IDs
Authorities say the investigation began in August 2011 and involved the University of Georgia police department and the Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney's office. The investigation spanned Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Michigan, and more than 400 fake driver's licenses were confiscated.
UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson says the students may have distributed more than 2,000 fake IDs total. He said the department was only after those who were making and selling the IDs. That's why police allowed students who bought them to hand them over in exchange for a statement and no charges.
"For a couple days you'd have thought we were selling concert tickets because the lines were pretty lengthy of people waiting their turn," Williamson said.
Athens is home to more than 20,000 underage college students. Records show there are 25 package stores in the county, and 49 bars in downtown Athens alone. When you add restaurants with bars in them, Flagpole Magazine put the number at 95, with five more on the way. It's the environment in which a fake ID ring can thrive.
"What we're trying to do is hit [underage drinking] from a number of different angles," Williamson said of fighting over-consumption by busting the ID ring. "Fortunately we were able to find someone that was pretty elaborate in their methods, profitable, and providing ways for people to circumvent the law."