Homeland Security nabs Seattle U students buying fake IDs

SEATTLE -- Dozens of Seattle University students nearly became felons after Homeland Security got wind of a massive fake ID buy at the school.

College students in the market for a fake ID no longer have to go into a back room with a lamination machine and a bad photo. There's much easier ways now, but 65 Seattle University students recently came to realize that the easy way isn't always the right way.

Finding a website that sells fake IDs online has become easier and easier as technology has involved. But just as students are using the Internet to break the law, law enforcement is using it to catch them.

That's what happened last month, when Homeland Security officers tracked a package from China heading to Seattle.

"That contained suspicious item that turned out to be fraudulent driver's licenses," said Michael Sletten, the school's Campus Safety Coordinator.

A single student brought at least 64 other friends together for a massive fake ID buying binge.

"They were being shipped to a residence hall here on campus," Sletten said.

Homeland Security carefully watched the delivery and helped the school catch the students.

"A lot of people got busted," said student AJ Reza.

Even with all the negative attention, classmates say fake IDs are a part of the culture.

"Two thirds of my friends have fake Ids," said freshman Katarina Juarez.

The problem of fake IDs on college campuses is far from a new thing, but the web has made it much easier to get closer to the real thing.

"But it's harder at the same time because you have to be really careful to make sure that it looks legit," Reza said.

The 65 students could have ended up as felons for importing fake IDs from overseas. In the end, Customs and Border Protection decided to let the school fine and sanction the students instead of making a federal case out of it.

The school couldn't reveal the exact punishment for each student, but they included community service, fines, suspensions and writing research papers about forgery.