STUART, Fla. — The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is warning business owners to be on the lookout for doctored driver’s licenses when hiring potential employees.
“So, on his license, apparently there is supposed to be something that states that he’s a “sexual predator” or something on his license and his has like a cigarette burn there,” said Hillary Hughes.
Hughes said she recently unknowingly hired a new employee who was convicted of a sexual offense.
The employee had altered his driver’s license to cover the “sexual predator” designation.
“When he was asked about it, he just made some comment like he was at a bar drinking and smoking and had just burnt his license by accident,” said Hughes.
“Part of his job was recruiting young women for this local business, so the employers were actually pretty upset they didn’t know what to look for,” said Lt. Yesenia Carde.
Carde said this is not the only case the sheriff’s office has seen.
Recently, another person convicted of a sex offense was caught driving children in a limousine to prom.
Carde’s message to businesses is to check the bottom right corner of licenses for alterations, scuffs and even white-out.
“On the Florida driver’s license, it’ll say “sexual predator”. It’ll actually have the verbiage,” said Carde. “So, look for that. If they’re a “sexual offender”, it’ll just have a statute number. It begins with 943.”
“I’ll bet you 10% of our members don’t know that it appears on a driver’s license,” said Joe Catrambone, president and CEO of the Martin County Chamber of Commerce.
Catrambone said he’ll now share the new info with all of the chamber’s members.
“It’s a liability issue absolutely,” said Catrambone. “If we were to hire offer an employee, an intern, and that intern ended up being a person listed on the sex offense registry, and they offended, again, there’s no question in my mind we would be liable.”
Hughes said moving forward, her business will require nationwide background checks, no matter the position.
She recommends other businesses do the same.