Collier County sheriff’s detectives said three people were arrested Monday on felony charges after they obtained Florida driver’s licenses with fraudulent documents.
The two men and one woman presented phony proof of residency documents with Collier County addresses when each applied for a driver’s license at the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles Office in the North Collier Government Service Center at 2335 Orange Blossom Drive.
Plamen Dimitrov Nenkov, 55, and Katya Ivanova Nenkova, 51, both of Arizona, and Biser Emilov Popov, 52, of North Miami, are each charged with using false information to obtain a driver’s license and perjury.
Detectives are investigating approximately 50 other suspected cases of driver’s license fraud. In recent weeks, DMV offices in Collier County have reported an unusually high number of out-of-state foreign-born nationals seeking a reciprocal Florida driver’s license.
Immediately upon receiving their license, these people took a computer exam for a Class A commercial driver’s license using similar appearing documents to provide proof of residency in Collier County. Florida requires CDL applicants to be state residents.
Detectives said people are coming to Florida to obtain a CDL for jobs elsewhere because it is less difficult and less expensive than other states.
Collier County Sheriff’s Office arrest reports gave this account of the arrests of Nenkov, Nenkova and Popov:
Officials with the Orange Blossom driver’s license office alerted CCSO to two suspected frauds in progress involving Nenkov and Nenkova.
Nenkov and Nenkova told detectives they are married and that they were born in Bulgaria and immigrated to the U.S. a few years ago. They said they had arrived in Florida the night before from Arizona. When detectives asked the couple if they lived at the Collier County address listed on their proof of residency documents, they said they did not. Detectives also contacted the current resident and property manager who confirmed the couple didn’t live at the address. The couple also lied on affidavits they signed stating that the information they provided was true and correct.
During their investigation, detectives were alerted to another suspected fraud at the Orange Blossom DMV involving Popov, also from Bulgaria.
Detectives determined Popov was not involved in the fraud involving Nenkov and Nenkova.
However, a review of his driver’s license history revealed similar patterns of fraud that detectives were investigating. This included providing proof of residency that was similar in appearance, foreign-born from Bulgaria, testing for the commercial license, and use of mail for proof of residence that was similar to the 50 other potential fraud cases.
Detectives found Popov did not live at the Collier County address listed on his proof of residence document. They also found Popov lied on his affidavit.
Nenkov, Nenkova and Popov were arrested and transported to the Collier County jail. Popov has since been released on bond.