Massachusetts issued 1,905 licenses to dead people
A state audit published Thursday finds that the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles issued nearly 2,000 licenses in the name of people after their deaths, a claim the agency and the state’s governor dispute.
Massachusetts’ Office of the State Auditor said the RMV had improperly used databases to verify a person’s eligibility for a license. The report cites a “significant risk” that the licenses could be used as false identification or to commit fraud.
“The failure to prevent individuals from obtaining identification under the names of deceased people creates a significant public safety risk to the Commonwealth. Fixing this problem must be a top priority for the RMV,” State Auditor Suzanne Bump is quoted in a release.
The audit found that 97 percent of the licenses in question were still active in January 2018. Some licenses were issued in the name of people who had been dead since the early 1960s, but most cases involved people who had died since 2000, the report’s data says.
The audit recommended that the RMV use a more comprehensive database to identify individuals who had died before issuing a license. A response from the RMV published in the audit said they are already doing so.
The RMV’s response also disputed multiple findings of the report. The RMV said it could not duplicate the report’s claim that 1,905 licenses had been issued to people after their date of death.
“The Registry of Motor Vehicles rejects the findings in the Auditor’s report, especially the false claim that the RMV is issuing licenses to 1900 deceased individuals who the RMV has verified are alive,” RMV spokesperson Jacquelyn Goddard said in a statement to Boston 25 News.
“This audit is outdated, as it was conducted before the implementation of an entirely new software system which has improved management and tracking capabilities.”
The response to Boston 25 News claims that all 1,905 people identified in the report are still alive, according to the database the auditor recommended using.
That position was echoed by the state’s governor, Charlie Baker.
“Everybody on that list is alive,” Baker told reporters Thursday.
Contributing: The Associated Press.
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