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ADOT detectives arrest forgery suspect posing as military veteran

ADOT detectives arrest forgery suspect posing as military veteran

June 8, 2016

PHOENIX – Arizona Department of Transportation detectives have arrested a man for submitting falsified paperwork when applying for veteran status on his driver license and for obtaining license plates reserved for veterans.

ADOT’s Office of the Inspector General continues investigating whether Eric Wolfe, 45, a resident of Tempe, used fraudulently obtained credentials to defraud businesses and other organizations for a business, Project 22 LLC, and a nonprofit, Freedom K-9 Rehab. ADOT detectives booked him into the custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday.

At one time, Wolfe partnered with a Valley nonprofit benefiting animals to train dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, using his story of a military career and subsequent PTSD.

In March, Wolfe supplied a falsified DD Form 214, the document a member of the military gets when being formally discharged, to a Motor Vehicle Division representative when applying for the driver license designation reserved for veterans. Alerted by investigators from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General that Wolfe never served in the U.S. Air Force, as he has claimed, ADOT detectives started an investigation and determined that the form was forged. 

Wolfe used the same forged military document to apply for two specialty license plates designated for veterans, one for his vehicle in March and one for a newly purchased motorcycle about two months later.

“ADOT protects the identities of Arizona residents,” said Michael Lockhart, chief of ADOT’s Office of the Inspector General. “Our detectives’ skills in investigating identity theft and forged documents helped us to arrest someone who was using the good name of military veterans for his own gain.”

Detectives ask that those who made donations to Wolfe call 602.712.6291 or, if they wish to remain anonymous, contact the ADOT OIG Fraud Hotline at 602.277.5684 or 877.712.2370.

In 2013, ADOT’s Motor Vehicle Division introduced the veteran designation on Arizona driver licenses and ID cards as a way for military veterans to display their service. Military veterans can also apply for a veteran specialty license plate for $25, $17 of which goes to a charity benefiting Arizona veterans.

ADOT’s Office of the Inspector General conducts investigations into fraudulent activities involving driver license and identification card applications; vehicle sales by licensed and unlicensed dealers; vehicle title and registration; and provides investigative support to state, local and federal law enforcement agencies.

For more information, please visit azdot.gov.