Irving Gonzalez's driving record reads like a trashy crime novel.
When the Richmond Hill man's New York State driver's license was suspended nearly a decade ago, he allegedly fabricated a new identity to get a Pennsylvania license, only to pull the same stunt once again after that one was suspended, too, according to authorities.
Perhaps his alleged experience evading motor vehicle laws made him an expert at catching others like him, which he did for three years as a tow truck driver who seized scofflaw cars wanted by the city.
But city officials reacted with little enthusiasm after learning about the extracurricular driving credentials he is accused of leaving off his resumé.
Gonzalez, 33, was arrested recently for allegedly using fake ID cards and fraudulent driver's licenses to work for three Queens tow companies, authorities said.
He was charged with offering a false instrument for filing and scheme to defraud, felony offenses that may land him in prison for up to four years if convicted, said Rose Gill Hearn, the commissioner of the city Department of Investigation.
"It's offensive that someone entrusted to enforce fines and penalties on others is one of the worst offenders," Gill Hearn said.
Gonzalez, now a security guard for a Long Island City company, worked intermittently between 1999 and 2001 for three Queens tow companies - J & J Auto Repair, Fleet Recovery Corp. and Mr. Z Towing - to help seize cars whose owners failed to pay their parking tickets.
But neither his employers nor the city agencies that contracted out the scofflaw towing jobs to them realized that Gonzalez not only had a suspended New York State license, but also amassed more than $11,000 in unpaid fines and obtained a handful of fraudulent ID cards, authorities said.
The city Department of Investigation and the state Department of Motor Vehicles began investigating Gonzalez in April 2001 after he was arrested for driving without a valid license, Gill Hearn said.
An officer saw Gonzalez slowly driving a car with Pennsylvania plates while repeatedly stopping and peering at parked cars, which Gonzalez explained by flashing a phony shield and claiming to be working for the city Sheriff's Office, Gill Hearn said.
After his New York State driver's license was suspended, Gonzalez used a fake name, birthday and Social Security number in a failed application for a Massachusetts driver's license in 1994, a scheme that worked the following year in Pennsylvania, authorities said.
He renewed that license in 1999 but had to get a different Pennsylvania license in 2001 after the first one was suspended, the commissioner said.
He then obtained six fraudulent New York State non-driver ID cards between 1995 and 2001, and used a variety of names and addresses to register several vehicles in New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, Gill Hearn said.
Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2003 Community News Group
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