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Famous Fraudsters - Charlie Bartlett

We take a look at another fictitious forger, and this time it's lesser-known character Charlie Bartlett who features in a movie of the same name - will his forged license make it past Veriff?

AuthorPatrick Johnson, March 11th, 2021

While identity fraud is something we take very seriously here at Veriff, the forgery of ID documents does sometimes result in some hilarious situations – especially when these are played out in movies. 

Characters like Charlie Bartlett – who does it to try and get people to ‘take notice of [him]’ and ‘be liked’ – certainly takes the forgery of such documents lightly.

Others, like Rusty Griswold aka ‘Nick Papagiorgio’ (from Vegas Vacation the fourth and final instalment of the National Lampoon series of films), have a great time using their fake IDs. After finding himself on a family holiday in Sin City the underage teen soon acquires a fake ID and proceeds to win a car and then get rich quick in casinos all over Las Vegas! 

However, occasionally using fake IDs turns into a gateway crime to much more unpleasant activities – as demonstrated by Mr. Ripley in ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ who starts murdering anyone that can’t be fooled by his forged documents.

Given all the modern and in-depth security features of identity documents, it is hard to believe that fake IDs were so regularly used in days gone by and actually worked a lot of the time. Ever since the conception of ID documents and drinking laws, underage teens have been using them to party and skirt the rules. With systems like Veriff however, fake IDs have become much harder to forge and use, especially on digital platforms.

Let’s take a closer look at Charlie Bartlett, how he ends up in the world of fake IDs and whether Veriff would have been able to catch him.

What's the movie about?

The self-titled movie ‘Charlie Bartlett’ is a film by screenwriter Gustin Nash which revolves around the wealthy teenager Charlie (played by the late, great Anton Yelchin) who simply wants to ‘be noticed’ at school and have friends. 

After being expelled from several private schools – the last of which is because he is caught in possession of a fake ID and caught forging them for his fellow schoolmates – he enrols in a local public school. 

His skills of forgery are then put to the test as he proceeds to obtain a variety of prescription drugs by faking both physical and emotional symptoms during sessions with different psychiatrists. 

Charlie’s relationship with the alcoholic Principal and his daughter becomes a main theme of the plot. He does eventually appear to amend his ways and leave his teenage life of forgery behind.

Charlie’s Identity Document

Charlie’s identity document of choice is a Connecticut Driver’s License which is shown quite clearly when the Principal of his private school shows it to his mother to explain why he's being expelled. 

Despite Mrs Bartlett exclaiming that the ID ‘looks pretty authentic’, the Principal is unmoved and reiterates that what Charlie did ‘was illegal’. Our teams at Veriff have looked at the so-called ‘authentic’ ID document and analysed whether it would pass our systems…needless to say things don’t look good for Charlie!

  • Firstly, the License Number would be 9 numbers, not 11. This one fact alone would likely be enough for Charlie’s ID to be rejected!
  • When we look closer, the first two digits in the License Number are supposed to equal the birth month (01-12) if the holder was born on an odd year, and 12 plus the birth month (13-24) if they were born on an even year. Charlie’s License Number starts with ‘19’ which is incorrect as it should be ‘02’. 
  • Charlie’s photo is also not right – you can’t see his full profile properly which is crucial when IDs are digitally checked by robust systems like Veriff. 
  • The watermarks are not correct, and while the background image is close to what it should be, it isn’t close enough to pass thorough checks.
  • Another big indication that the ID is fake is that Charlie’s so-called address ’24 Wellington Avenue’ doesn’t exist. There’s a ‘Wellington Drive’ in Connecticut but not a ‘Wellington Avenue’.
  • Finally, the word ‘Connecticut’ (pretty important on a state-issued document) is not formatted as it should be. 

If Charlie was to try his hand at forging Driver’s Licenses now, things would be even harder for him, as many new sophisticated security features have been added to the document. This includes hidden holographic images, as well as digital security elements that allow Connecticut’s DMV systems to be more coordinated. 

When used, the Veriff automated system takes the whole identity document into consideration and every element is analyzed. It’s safe to say that Charlie Bartlett’s ID wouldn't get past us!

Penalties for forging a Fake ID

It seems prudent to note at this stage that not only would Charlie’s identity verification document be rejected by our digital and automated systems, but Charlie could also be in a lot of trouble for forging, selling and possessing such documents. 

According to Connecticut Law, ‘the penalties for forgery or a fake ID in Connecticut could include incarceration, a fine, a criminal conviction, and a period of probation, during which time the student will have to report to a probation officer.’

Based on this we’re not sure that being able to buy alcohol or access a club when underage is worth the risk! 

Our next Famous Fraudster is someone who has good intentions at the heart of his Fake ID forgery – Doctor Who!

Patrick Johnson

Content Manager

Patrick takes care of the voice of Veriff - coordinating the copy throughout our brand and product and making sure we're constantly delivering engaging and excellent content.

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