On a weekend in March, eight CHS seniors went into California Pizza Kitchen at Del Monte Shopping Center for what an outsider might think would be an average dinner. However, along with their pizzas, two of the seniors tried to order a beer and a mixed drink using their fake IDs.
The seniors thought they had gotten away with the purchase until the waiter came back a few minutes later, again requesting to see their IDs. According to one of the seniors attempting to buy the alcohol, the manager and waiter said another customer reported them as underage and that the restaurant had a special book on fake IDs and that the two IDs had the same serial number.
These Carmel seniors are not the only ones with fakes.
“The best website to get fakes has a policy that if you get bigger orders then you get the IDs for cheaper,” a senior boy with a fake ID says. “The senior who organized the whole thing tried to get as many people to order as he could. 13 of [CHS students] got them, and the price dropped from $120 per fake to $80 per fake.”
According to this senior, the group went to Beverley’s to buy a blue poster board, took the pictures they wanted to be used on their IDs, piled their money together, bought a REloadit credit card and entered their information on the website, and in just a month, 13 pristine fake IDs arrived.
Although there were choices of five different states, the group got California fakes and put their own names and addresses on them because punishment can be more severe for taking or creating a name and address.
The punishments for having a fake ID can vary. If students are caught with a fake ID in possession of alcohol or while attempting to purchase alcohol in California, they face a $250 to $1,000 fine and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service, a one-year suspension of their driver’s license, and/or six months in the county jail if the crime is a misdemeanor. If the crime is a felony, they face 16 months or two to three years in a state prison with a maximum of a $10,000 fine.
Despite the daunting punishments, students are not hesitant to try their fakes. One CHS senior girl involved in a bulk order last year has taken a few precautions when using her fake.
“When I buy alcohol, I try to go outside of Carmel because I always see someone I know at the Carmel Safeway, like teachers or parents,” she says. “I just go to young guys working checkout and flirt with them, and they don’t care if I buy. The cashiers don’t really care in general because I look older.”
Buying alcohol might be harder for underage people now, though, because in 2010 California changed the orientation of driver’s licenses. Licenses are now vertical for people under 21 and horizontal for people 21 and older.
Although fake IDs would be easy to detect on campus, assistant principal Martin Enriquez admits that the school has not been looking for them.
“There is not really a policy on fake IDs on campus,” Enriquez says. “That tends to be more of a penal violation than a school violation. When we do run into a kid that has a fake ID, we confiscate it and we notify the parents. If students had a fake off-campus pass, they would be punished by the school because it violates a school policy.”
The parent of one of the CPK seniors was notified by her child of the confiscation and ended up coming to their rescue.
After leaving CPK, the seniors thought it was all over, yet thanks to social media, the story evolved. It turns out that the waiter had taken a photo of the two fakes and posted it on her Instagram, with a caption including offensive hash tags such as “#dumbass #littlekids #nicetry.”
A mother of one of the seniors went into CPK and talked to the manager about how immature and unprofessional the post was, and the manager returned the IDs, cut into pieces. Although the seniors were upset, they both say they are going to order new fake IDs.