Identification cards being sold in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and the New Orleans area by two businesses are not worth the paper they’re printed on, the state Attorney General’s Office claims in a pair of lawsuits.
The allegedly bogus identification cards include Louisiana photo ID cards, international driving documents and foreign ID cards and are sold for $150 or more, the suits say.
The two lawsuits target ID Card Center Inc. and director Alejandra C. Cali, and ID Express and owner Fabiola Robles-DeMedina.
The suits contend the defendants advertise that the cards they produce “can be used for travel, banking and driving when, in fact, the documents … have no legitimate purpose and are specifically designed to deceive and mislead.’’
ID Card Center operates two stores in Baton Rouge, located at 6031 Siegen Lane and 15366 Old Hammond Highway, and two in Kenner and one in New Orleans, the suit against the center and Cali states.
ID Express runs two stores in Baton Rouge, at 11157 Muriel Ave. and 9656 Burbank Drive, and one in Lafayette at 4001 W. Congress St., the suit against that center and its owner says.
Amanda Larkins, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, said Thursday the office could not comment on the pending litigation when asked how much money and how many alleged victims are involved.
Cali and Robles-DeMedina could not be reached for comment.
The suits contend the Louisiana photo identification cards sold by ID Card Center and ID Express are produced and issued without any official or valid proof of identification by the purchaser.
Although the ID Card Center and ID Express applications state that the identification card is not a “government issued’’ card, the centers represent that the card has a legitimate use “when in fact it has none,’’ the suits allege.
The international driving documents issued by the two centers have “no value and cannot be used to obtain driving privileges in any state in the United States,’’ the suits add.
An international driving document issued by a foreign country can be used to drive legally in this country, but neither ID Card Center and Cali nor ID Express and Robles-DeMedina are authorized to issue legitimate driving documents, the suits say.
“Unsophisticated purchasers … naively present these cards to law enforcement officers believing that they are valid proof of driving privileges,’’ the suits note. “These cards are routinely confiscated by law enforcement officers when presented by an unlicensed driver during traffic stops.’’
The suits also allege that the two centers routinely offer and issue automobile liability insurance policies to buyers of the international driving documents, but neither center is licensed to do so.
The suits further contend that the centers issue foreign identification cards that mimic the various Latin American countries and their individual states.
“Officials of Latin American countries have verified that the cards … so closely resemble a validly issued Latin American country identification card as to be nearly indistinguishable,’’ the suits note.
The suits, filed Monday in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, seek court orders prohibiting the defendants from advertising or operating their businesses.
The suits also seek restitution to all victims or “disgorgement of all ill gotten gains.’’
The suits have been assigned to state District Judges Kay Bates and Todd Hernandez.