A former state worker has been sentenced to probation after she used a fake identity to rip-off Minnesota taxpayers.
Oluremi George was fired from the Secretary of State's office in August after she pled guilty to Social Security fraud and making false statements. Friday, a federal judge gave her two years' probation and ordered $18,114 in restitution payments.
It's a generous plea deal when you consider the nature of the rip-off, and the obvious national security implications.
Under the fictitious name of Victoria Ayoola, and with a phony Social Security number, George got a very real Minnesota driver's license, and used that drivers license to get federally-subsidized housing in Woodbury, Minn., ripping off taxpayers to the tune of $18,000.
But George is hardly the only one living a double life. A FOX 9 investigation discovered the Department of Vehicle Services had used facial recognition software to uncover 21,000 cases of duplicate driver's licenses.
The same face, under two different names. 14,000 of those drivers licenses have been canceled.
"We're going to continue to do this monitoring," said Doug Neville, deputy communications director for the Department of Public Safety. "One ID obtained fraudulently is too many."
Federal prosecutors say George even used her alias to get a new passport.
In her native Nigeria, her alias, Ayoola, means "joy of wealth." Now she'll need to repay that wealth, and presumably the joy is gone.
Oluremi George is hardly alone -- the state has cancelled 14,000 of these fraudulently-obtained Minnesota drivers' licenses, but the state can't tell us of another single prosecution. Not one.
This year they're finally going to run those 14,000 names through the Department of Human Services to see if they can find any cases of welfare or food stamp fraud.
The facial recognition analysis was done back in 2008 -- four years ago – and hasn't been used since. That means there may be tens of thousands of cases in the last four years that we don't even know about.