State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and state Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) have introduced legislation into both houses that Peralta said could help fight crimes that begin in Queens and spread throughout the tri-state area.
“Fake IDs is one of the biggest issues at hand on Roosevelt Avenue,” Peralta said.
The new legislation would increase the punishment for the sale of fake IDs. While manufacturers of false documents can get up to 15 years in prison, sellers only face a maximum of seven years in prison. Peralta’s bill, which has been sponsored by Moya in the Senate, would make the charges equal.
“We want to curtail it,” Peralta said.
The senator said the distribution of forged documents such as passports, drivers’ licenses and Social Security cards runs rampant on Roosevelt Avenue. He said it is one of the many issues that plague the commercial strip, including prostitution, illegal bars and illegal vendy operations.
“Roosevelt Avenue has become the new old Times Square,” Peralta said.
The senator said the operation is so sophisticated that forgers on Roosevelt Avenue acquire the technology to imitate the latest security features months after they are implemented, leading customers throughout the greater New York area to come to the commercial strip to buy them. He said many people would not be able to identify if the IDs were fake unless they were an expert.
“It’s an amazing thing that they do,” Peralta said, “and yet it really puts the people in Queens in jeopardy.”
Fake IDs are often associated with underage drinking, but Peralta said since the forged documents are so easy to obtain and are of high quality, they have the potential to undermine Homeland Security.
The senator said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown is in favor of the bill and his office helped with the drafting of the bill.
Peralta said the bill has been introduced into the Senate and is going to committee, although he expects the measure will not progress until the redistricting process of election districts is complete.