The RMV Wanted to Take His License. Now, a Doorbell Camera Video Could Clear His Name

Orlando Vazquez says he's never been to Massachusetts, but the state wants to suspend his license for an unpaid speeding ticket here. After he contacted the NBC10 Boston Investigators, police are now reviewing a doorbell video that could prove he's innocent.

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Orlando Vazquez figured it had to be a mistake.

The letter from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles warned his license was about to be suspended for failing to pay a $365 speeding ticket. According to the documents, a state trooper issued the citation for driving 91 in a 55 mile-per-hour zone along Route 495 near Lawrence on May 22.

"My first thought was that I've never been to Massachusetts," Vazquez said with a chuckle.

But the Wesley Chapel, Florida, resident quickly discovered it was no laughing matter. A license suspension would be a big problem for the business owner, who holds a commercial driver's license and needs to keep a clean record to maintain his livelihood.

"I have a business to run, a family to take care of, and just bought my first house," Vazquez said.

As he tried to figure out his next steps, Vazquez realized he had an alibi: the video surveillance system connected to his doorbell.

Video clips he provided to the NBC10 Boston Investigators show him walking out of his home at 7:35 p.m. on the night of May 22.

According to the traffic ticket, the state trooper pulled Vazquez over in a rental car north of Boston about two hours later.

A separate doorbell video shows Orlando returning home at 10:15 p.m. the same night.

Impossible, right? Vazquez certainly thought so, but he couldn't seem to get anyone to listen.

"It is very stressful, especially when you live here in Florida and the incident is 1,300 miles away," Vazquez said.

Orlando Vazquez with one of his business vehicles outside his Florida home

While searching online, Vazquez saw how the NBC10 Investigators recently helped drivers who received unfair suspensions from the RMV.

So he took a shot and called our station. We listened to his story, and his doorbell videos added intrigue. We told Vazquez we'd see how we could help.

After an inquiry to Massachusetts State Police, agency spokesman David Procopio told us it appears Vazquez may have had his identity stolen in Florida and someone then obtained a duplicate driver's license in his name. Police are still trying to put those pieces together as they share info with investigators from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office in Florida.

Procopio said Massachusetts State Police are trying to gather additional information regarding the vehicle that was stopped on I-495 near Lawrence, along with the identity of a passenger who rented it. Investigators also want to be certain the date and timestamp on the doorbell videos can be validated, he said.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman with the RMV told us the agency has hit the brakes on Vazquez's suspension until the law enforcement review is complete.

Vazquez said he is anxious to put the headache in the rearview mirror.

"I'm glad you believed in me and my story," he said. "I'm very thankful you were able to help me out and push the right buttons."

Steve Weisman, a professor at Bentley University and an expert on identity theft, said fraudulent licenses are fairly easy to obtain online, despite the complex anti-fraud measures many states now incorporate on their IDs.

And if someone steals your personal information and creates a duplicate license, it can cause problems more serious than a traffic ticket.

"Criminals will use that identity if they get arrested and then skip bail," Weisman said. "And suddenly, there is an arrest warrant out for the real person whose identity has been stolen. You could be arrested for a crime you didn't commit and spend a day or two in jail trying to straighten it out."

Some states offer an identity theft passport program as a way for victims to substantiate the crime to law enforcement and creditors.

Weisman said Massachusetts doesn't have the program, so he said it is crucial for identity theft victims to work with their local district attorneys' offices to get letters they keep in their wallets with their licenses.

"That letter can indicate to police that the person has been a victim of identity theft and someone has committed crimes using their name. And just because the name matches, they are not to assume it's the same person," Weisman said.  

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