paper tag nation

TxDMV Names New Executive Director Amid Paper Tag Crisis

Acting executive director named the agency's new leader after being praised for handling the paper tag crisis during a tumultuous time

Daniel Avitia
Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Investigates

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles officially has a new leader to steer the agency in the wake of the crisis involving the widespread sale of fraudulent paper license plates.

At a meeting Wednesday, the TxDMV board selected Daniel Avitia as the agency's executive director.

Avitia has served as the agency’s acting executive director for much of 2022.

Whitney Brewster, the agency's former executive director, stepped down earlier this year as the board called for more sweeping changes to deal with the ongoing paper tag problem.

In selecting Avitia, board members praised his efforts to address the recent crisis. 

“I think you have done an incredible job of stepping into a very tumultuous time,” TxDMV Board Member Manny Ramirez said, addressing Avitia at Wednesday’s meeting.

As a series of reports from NBC 5 Investigates has shown, lax security at the TxDMV allowed crooks to obtain Texas car dealer licenses and then sell massive numbers of fraudulent paper tags for profit.

Law enforcement officials said many of those tags have false driver information entered into the state system, creating what police call “ghost cars,” which make it difficult for police to determine the real owner of the vehicle.

Some of the fraudulent tags sold on the black market have been put on cars used to commit other serious crimes, including drug and human smuggling and violent crimes, the NBC 5 investigation has shown.

On Wednesday, Avitia said the agency continues to step up its efforts to block dealers suspected of fraud from accessing the state’s electronic temporary plate system. Since the start of this year, Avitia said the DMV has suspended access for 50 small dealers.


Contact Us