Make your home page

Document snafu leaves Hoosier motorcyclist without a driver’s license

LADOGA, Ind. (WISH) — A man in Ladoga is without a driver’s license after the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles said he gave them fake documents.

But he said those documents were false through no fault of his own.

Alex Verhonik reached out to I-Team 8 when he got a letter in the mail from the BMV saying he used fraudulent Ride Safe Indiana Motorcycle Safety documents to get his motorcycle endorsement.

“I received a letter that says that I’m getting my license suspended for 90 days and possible pending of a Class 6 Felony for … what did I do wrong?” Verhonik asked.

Verhonik said he took a class in fall 2016 with a man who said he was an ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) instructor. Verhonik paid the man $200 to take the course and get certified for his motorcycle endorsement. He said the BMV accepted the paperwork from his training session without a second thought, until late September, when the letter arrived.

Now Verhonik’s license is suspended for 90 days, starting Friday.

“I don’t think we should get in trouble for something somebody else did,” Verhonik said. “I mean, he made over $50,000 off of people.”

ABATE of Indiana says they’ve taught hundreds of riders over almost 40 years. Their mission is to ensure their students know motorcycle safety so they can get the motorcycle endorsement on a driver’s license.

“We’ve never had a problem like this with fraudulent documents until this (training certification) document was created,” said Jay Jackson, ABATE of Indiana’s executive director.

Jackson began hearing about a man posing as an ABATE staff member, giving customers fraudulent documents and even using the name of a former ABATE instructor.

I-Team 8 reached out to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. While they declined to speak with I-Team 8 on camera, as this is an ongoing investigation, they said the Indiana State Police are involved.

The BMV says less than 1 percent of people in the state with a motorcycle endorsement have been affected — but that could still mean hundreds of victims.

If you are one of the victims, the BMV spokesperson advises you follow the guidelines on your letter to request a hearing.

If you are worried about becoming a victim, visit the Ride Safe Indiana website to find a class approved by the state.

If you are taking an ABATE course, Jackson says to ensure the course is at one of organization’s approved times and locations by visiting their website or call 1-800-232-2283.