Facial recognition helps detectives nab another identity thief Technology a useful tool in protecting identities

PHOENIX – A Phoenix resident who allegedly used a stolen identity to get a duplicate driver license has been arrested thanks to Arizona Department of Transportation detectives’ use of facial recognition training and technology.

When Gina Lynell Sears, 57, applied for a duplicate driver license under another woman’s name at the Motor Vehicle Division office in Flagstaff, the facial recognition system used by ADOT’s Office of Inspector General found that her photo closely resembled the photo under her real name in the driver license database. ADOT detectives with training in facial recognition determined that both of the photos were of Sears.

Their investigation found that Sears applied for a duplicate license under the identity of an Arizona resident with a similar name on Oct. 13, 2013, using the other woman’s date of birth and Social Security number. Sears’ own driver license was suspended at the time. She allegedly used the identity again to update the license on Jan. 17 of this year and to purchase a vehicle in Flagstaff. She was arrested April 12 at her Phoenix apartment and will be processed through the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office on charges of identity theft and forgery.

This case is one more example of how ADOT’s facial recognition technology and expertise protects Arizonans’ identities and helps prevent fraud involving state-issued driver licenses and identification cards.

Facial recognition allows detectives to compare a photo against others in the driver license database to ensure a person isn’t fraudulently obtaining an ID card.

If a photo is a likely match to another one, the system will flag it. Potentially fraudulent photos then undergo three levels of review by detectives who have received FBI facial recognition training.


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