``This was strictly a business for profit,'' Rubenstein said.
Authorities identified the ringleaders as Daniel Patrick McIlhinney, 26, a car salesman from Doylestown, and Eric Martin Heath, 25, a computer technician from Langhorne. Each was charged with offenses including forgery and criminal conspiracy, and each faces as much as seven years in prison if convicted, Rubenstein said.
Authorities said the two men led separate organizations that cooperated in the production of the counterfeit licenses. Both men were arraigned yesterday afternoon before District Justice Oliver A. Groman in Warrington and released on $25,000 unsecured bail each.
Also arrested on similar charges were Frank Mannino, 27, of Doylestown; Jeff Neamond, 23, of Doylestown; John Freudig, 25, of Warrington; and Jason Webster, 21, of New Hope.
The group created convincing licenses, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Gayle Baker, who oversaw the grand jury investigation. Accurate details included a centered hologram that was airbrushed using a stencil. The ringleaders chose the New Jersey license because they could reproduce the hologram, authorities said.
According to the grand jury investigation, Heath and McIlhinney built their business by aggressively spreading word of their operation through college communities. They established contacts who were rewarded with money or free licenses for gathering groups of at least 10 customers, the investigation found.
Webster, one of those charged, told the grand jury that the group did not limit itself to college students. He recalled a photo shoot in a Doylestown park with students from Lower Moreland High School, according to the presentment.
But members of the ring most frequently traveled to college campuses, where they met their customers in places such as fraternity and sorority houses, Rubenstein said. A Polaroid camera was used to take the students' pictures as they stood in front of light-blue poster board. Heath and McIlhinney would produce the fake licenses at their homes and later give them to a contact for distribution, according to the grand jury presentment.
Suspect Neamond told the grand jury about a crowd of 300 people who gathered for the fake licenses at Moravian College. Other campuses on which the ring sold licenses included Rutgers University, Holy Family College, Amherst College, the University of New Hampshire, Syracuse University, Drexel University, and Temple University, authorities said.
Local students and groups of less than 10 had their pictures taken in places including the Doylestown train station and the Central Bucks West High School parking lot, according to the presentment.
Although the fake licenses appeared authentic, the minors who used them often appeared much younger than the legal drinking age, Baker said. Authorities were tipped to the presence of the ring by a fake license that was confiscated from a 17-year-old who attempted to use it to buy beer from a Richboro distributor.
Baker said the Bucks County-based ring was unrelated to a similar operation broken up by New Jersey authorities in April. McIlhinney is the nephew of Keren McIlhinney, vice chairwoman of the Bucks County Republican Party, according to his attorney, Martin J. King.