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Beauchamp v. Petit

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

March 29, 2018

Dennis A. Beauchamp, Appellant-Appellant,
v.
Don Petit, Registrar, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Appellee-Appellee.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No. 16CV-4052

         On brief:

          E. Scott Shaw, for appellant.

         Argued:

          E. Scott Shaw.

         On brief:

          Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Peter L. Jamison, for appellee.

         Argued:

          Brian R. Honen.

          DECISION

          SADLER, J.

         {¶ 1} Appellant-appellant, Dennis A. Beauchamp, appeals from the judgment entry of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas affirming the final adjudication order of appellee-appellee, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles ("Ohio BMV" or "appellee"), ordering the cancellation of appellant's driver's license pursuant to R.C. 4507.19. For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶ 2} On November 5, 2015, appellee sent appellant a written notice of proposed cancellation of appellant's driver's license pursuant to R.C. 4507.19. After several continuances, a hearing on the matter was held on February 3, 2016.

          {¶ 3} Appellant testified that "Dennis Alexis Beauchamp" is his full name and that he was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico to parents Olga Rodriguez and Dennis Beauchamp, who were "twenty-something" and about 31, respectively, when he was born. (Tr. at 13, 14.) According to appellant, he did not know if his mother worked or how many siblings or half-siblings he had. He was an abused child; he grew up away from his parents and did not have a close relationship with them. Appellant left Puerto Rico around the age of 15 when a family member, who he could not recall specifically, bought him a plane ticket and put him on a plane.

         {¶ 4} Appellant testified that once in the United States, he went to New York for a year or two, while travelling back and forth. Appellant ended up in Massachusetts, where he spent most of his time and held a driver's license. In 1996, when appellant was around 18 or 19, appellant was convicted of selling drugs and sentenced to approximately seven years in a Massachusetts prison. At that point, appellant says his parents "turned my back on me" and he does not "have much contact with them at all." (Tr. at 15.) After appellant was released from prison, appellant testified he lived with his friend, a DEA police officer, and detailed cars out of his house. Appellant then moved to Providence, Rhode Island and opened up a shop, but things did not go well and appellant moved back to New York. Appellant moved to Ohio after a friend who once lived here then told him about the potential to open a business in Ohio.

         {¶ 5} In Ohio, appellant has owned his own business for the past nine or ten years and currently has two businesses: a towing company and a body shop. He has a girlfriend with whom he has a son, and the two are planning to marry. He has not been married before but has another biological child who lives in Providence, Rhode Island and a stepdaughter who is the biological child of his current girlfriend. Appellant testified he has not travelled back to Puerto Rico, or anywhere, since he was released from prison. Appellant does not have a United States passport.

         {¶ 6} According to appellant, in March 2014, an investigator from the Ohio BMV contacted him about an issue with his driver's license and address. Appellant provided documents to show the investigator who he was, and appellant believed an investigator came to the shop that summer to do an inspection of the dealership. Someone told appellant he had to change the address on his license, and appellant explained he had been living where he was working and ultimately fixed the address problem on his license.

         {¶ 7} BMV Investigator John Shidell testified that he began investigating appellant in February 2014 due to appellant using his work address as a home address on his driver's license. During his research, Shidell noticed a Florida driver's license was issued under the same name and social security number but with photographs of different men. At that time, Shidell believed appellant had been a victim of identity theft or "was [a] fraud." (Tr. at 29.) In March 2014, Shidell met with appellant, and appellant was able to show proof of his Puerto Rican birth certificate and a social security card. According to Shidell, "[t]hey were both real documents" that "met the requirements for proof of citizenship." (Tr. at 30.) Shidell told appellant he needed to change his address on the driver's license.

         {¶ 8} Shidell testified that in August 2014, he reached out to appellant again and told him he still needed to change his address, which appellant did do. Shidell additionally told appellant "we need to talk about his citizenship, that there was a possible duplicate person in Florida; and at that time, he could have been a victim of identity theft." (Tr. at 32.) Shidell wanted to meet with appellant again to ask him "a series of questions * * *, personal questions that only the real Dennis Beauchamp would know." (Tr. at 32.) According to Shidell, he attempted to meet with appellant and called appellant, but appellant never called Shidell back. Shidell put a note in their system to place a hold on appellant's documents when he next attempted to renew his driver's license, which would force appellant to meet with Shidell. However, for unknown reasons, appellant was able to renew his license without meeting with Shidell.

         {¶ 9} Shidell reopened his investigation into appellant in May 2015 when the BMV received a complaint from a Dennis Alex Beauchamp in Florida ("Florida Beauchamp") claiming to be a victim of identity theft. Shidell spoke with the Florida Beauchamp, and the Florida Beauchamp faxed Shidell his birth certificate, which had a different stamp than appellant's birth certificate, social security card, Florida driver's license, and the social security card and birth certificate of Florida Beauchamp's son, who was ...


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