FOX Files Investigation: Fake IDs

FOX Files
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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– You don`t have to be the parent of a teenager to fear the newest fake IDs.  They’re so well made, police are concerned about everything from underaged drinking to terrorism.  Investigator Chris Hayes shows you why you could be surrounded by people who want to hide.

On a Wednesday night near the Saint Louis University Campus, we watched doormen at Humphrey’s check every ID, compare faces and look for holograms.

People in line at Humphrey’s say this is not the place to try sneaking in with a fake.  But many are convinced kids can beat the system at other bars.

One underaged drinker, down the street said, “In most cases they’ll get in.”

Ask a teen how to get a new identity and they’ll likely tell you about a Chinese web site.  IDs appear flawless.  Holograms pop, even under black light.

I ordered one to see.  I requested an Illinois driver’s license, uploaded a photo, sent the electronic form and minutes later – I received a response via e-mail with specific directions “please send Western Union or money gram in person $200 to Beijing.”  About a week later a plain package arrived.

The first thing I noticed – the package said “card box sample.”  I opened it to find a small box with an empty wallet inside.  Then I found a false bottom on the box with the wallet.  I ripped open the bottom to find two tightly wrapped fake IDs.

Bar owner John Mangelsdorf said, “The IDs are just too good nowadays that you’re not going to catch them all.”

It frightens Humphrey’s co-owner Mangelsdorf, who’s proud about the fakes they’ve caught, “This stack of IDs is about a month of IDs that my door man have taken.”

Not all of them match the quality we ordered. Mangelsdorf said, “One of my ways of motivating my door men is I’ll actually pay them for the fake IDs that they get.”
 
We found one from the Chinese web site that even reveals hidden holograms that appear under black light, like a fake Pennsylvania driver’s license with the repeated abbreviation “PA” on the back.

An anonymous underaged drinker told us, “They’re just unbelievably and completely identical.”

They appear to be flooding St. Louis, partly because the Chinese site encourages you to buy in volume. Another anonymous student said, “Do a little collection, one guy order them.”
Hayes asked, “One person might order how many?”
Student, “Like 20, I don’t know, get a little fake ID ring going on.”
 
It got Maryland Heights Police Detective Toni Buchanan`s attention.  She said, “It is a bigger thing than just underage drinking.”

Police are already thinking about what criminals could do, how easy it would be to hide with a fake ID.  Consider a fugitive who could use any date of birth or any address.  They could take their neighbor’s information – even yours.  Who is going to know?

No one in China is asking any questions about what someone might do with this.

Det. Buchanan said it could be, “A national security threat. You don’t know what the’`re going to do with that information.”

We dig deeper tomorrow, as we scan the bar codes to see what comes up.  If you’re a teen thinking about ordering?  Stop – and first – see why it could lead to your financial ruin. Our investigation continues Thursday night May 24th on Fox 2 News at 9.

E-mail Chris.Hayes@tvstl.com

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About the FOX Files

The Fox Files are groundbreaking investigations you won’t see anywhere else. The series is well known for breaking the Pam Hupp story nationally. The reports that led to the exoneration of Russ Faria. But, it is far from the only time in which our investigations led to overturned convictions and freedom for the wrongfully accused. The Fox Files investigations do not fit into just one category, other than the fact our reports shine a light on issues and corruption in ways you won’t see anywhere else.

You won’t know what to expect as our reports often take twists that surprise even Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes.

“You never know where the truth will lead and you have to keep searching for it, even when you think you might be done,” Hayes said.

From getting arrested for trying to cover a public meeting, to getting law enforcement involved in his report about a daycare fight club, the Fox Files has been at the forefront of breaking news investigations in the St. Louis area.

It doesn’t stop just in St. Louis. The Pam Hupp/Russ Faria story took him to Lincoln County. Fox 2 was the first to report, nationally, on the synthetic drug epidemic when it began in St. Charles County, MO. In St. Louis County, our Fox Files reporting led to the dismantling of some police departments, including the departments of Uplands Park and Jennings. And in the City of St. Louis, our investigations led to swift government actions, such as our report that led to the Governor’s ordered shut down of a daycare.

Our reporting in St. Louis also led to former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ exclusive Fox Files interviews involving his court fight to oust the chief prosecutor while attempting to prove that political corruption led to an illegal overturning of a state election.

“It’s not always bad news,” Hayes said about a recent victory for a restaurant in his coverage of a St. Clair County Illinois issue. A Fox Files report, exposing a health department’s mistake over the COVID-19 pandemic, led to an overturning of a decision, allowing the business to open for limited inside dining.

Another investigation took us to Madison County, where prosecutors praised Fox 2’s coverage while shutting down an illegal synthetic drug business – and to Monroe County, where we uncovered key evidence in the Chris Coleman murder trial.

Even the national media, continues reaching out to local affiliate Fox 2 KTVI and the Fox Files, for its work on cases that are important to St. Louis. When you see a network television’s coverage of St. Louis, you’ll often see that they gathered information that was first uncovered right here.

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