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Week in Springfield

News Briefs

Sentenced for Selling Licenses

<bt>Francisco "Frank" Martinez, a former manager of the DMV customer service center at Springfield Mall, was sentenced to 27 months in prison. His wife Miriam Martinez, a former clerk at the DMV in Tysons Corner, was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Both were sentenced Friday, Nov. 4 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on federal charges of conspiracy to commit identification fraud.

Frank Martinez, 57, and Miriam Martinez, 57, both of Stafford, pled guilty in August for their involvement in issuing and selling at least 50 driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and individuals who had suspended licenses.

Frank Martinez, who had been a DMV employee since 1990, charged up to $3,500 for the licenses, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty. Frank Martinez had managed the Springfield office since 2001 and had "direct supervisory control" over the office's operations and 30 employees.

For approximately four years, Frank Martinez falsified computer records to make it appear that immigrants who received the licenses were residents who recently moved to Virginia from another state, according to McNulty.

Under their scheme, Miriam Martinez, who worked as a clerk at the Tysons Corner DMV from 1996-1998 and again in 2003, served as a link between her husband and unqualified applicants. "She would obtain the names and other personal information that the unqualified applicants wanted their licenses to bear," according to McNulty's press release.

Co-conspirator Daniel Jose Guardia Lopez, 25, of Alexandria, found clients — up to 12 a month — collected fees and gave them instructions from Miriam Martinez on when to go to the Springfield DMV to get the fake licenses, according to court documents. He pled guilty to his role in the conspiracy in July.

<1b>— Ken Moore

<sh>Youth Coach Pleads Guilty to Porn Charges

<bt>Christopher H. Allen, 36, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Nov. 8 to one count of possession of child pornography. According to a U.S. Department of Justice press release, the indictment alleged that among the images stored on Allen's computer were images of a girls soccer team, altered to make it appear as if the minors were engaged in sexually explicit conduct with an adult male. Allen, a Fairfax resident, coached a girls soccer team for 10-year-olds with the Springfield Youth Club.

Allen is in custody until his sentencing in January 2006, when he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography. The United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerald Smagala will prosecute it, said the release.

Anyone with information for police regarding this case should contact U.S. Postal Service Inspector Stephan Lear at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, at 703-837-6317 or 804-640-4584.

<sh>Tax Relief Workshop, Nov. 17

<bt>Supervisor Elaine McConnell (R-Springfield) presents a workshop on real estate tax relief for Springfield District seniors, Thursday, Nov. 17, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at 6140 Rolling Road, Springfield.

Representatives from Fairfax County's Department of Tax Administration will be available to help seniors determine if they are eligible for tax relief and show them how to apply. Last month, the Board of Supervisors expanded the Real Estate Tax Relief Program for the Elderly and Disabled, increasing eligibility requirements. The change is retroactive to the entire tax year 2005. Applicants who have already been certified for exemption need not reapply.

For more on the workshop, call Susan Zarybnicky at 703-324-2500, TTY 711. For more about real estate tax relief, call 703-222-8234, TTY 703-222-7594. Relief applications are at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dta/pdf_files/2005taxrelief.pdf.

<sh>Tax Relief Workshop, Nov. 15

<bt>A workshop on real estate tax relief for Mount Vernon and Lee District seniors is Tuesday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the South County Government Center, 8350 Richmond Highway, Alexandria.

Representatives from Fairfax County's Department of Tax Administration will be available to help seniors determine if they are eligible for tax relief and show them how to apply. Last month, the Board of Supervisors expanded the Real Estate Tax Relief Program for the Elderly and Disabled, increasing eligibility requirements. The change is retroactive to the entire tax year 2005. Applicants who have already been certified for exemption need not reapply.

For more on the workshop, call Brett Kenney at 703-780-7518, TTY 711. For more about real estate tax relief, call 703-222-8234, TTY 703-222-7594. Relief applications are at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dta/pdf_files/2005taxrelief.pdf.

<sh>Sobriety Checkpoint in Franconia

<bt>Fairfax County police officers from the Franconia District Station conducted a sobriety checkpoint from Friday, Nov. 4, at 11 p.m. to Saturday, Nov. 5, at 2 a.m. said a Fairfax County Police Department press release. Officers stopped approximately 345 drivers at the checkpoint, located on the southbound lanes of Backlick Road at Braddock Road. No motorists were arrested for driving while intoxicated, said the release, but three received citations for traffic offenses.

<sh>Smoking Materials Cause Fire

<bt>Fairfax County Fire and Rescue officials believe smoking materials started a fire in a Springfield townhouse Saturday night.

A call was received by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department at 10 p.m. Saturday night, Nov. 5, about a fire at 9120 Aspenpark Court in Springfield, a three-story townhouse. The two adults and two juveniles in the house at the time were not injured and are being assisted by the Red Cross. Damages to the house are estimated at $50,000. Fire and Rescue Department officials believe smoking materials that were not properly extinguished or disposed in the bedroom of the townhouse caused the fire.