A few days ago, I noticed yet another story related to identity theft ring. Not only were they producing fraudulent documents but they were also engaged in illicit drug and firearm trafficking. Special task force cracks down on identity fraud (emphasis added):
It’s the work of the SECURE Strike Force. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff created the task force last year to combat what he calls a growing problem: identity theft, used for illegal activity like drug and weapons trafficking…
Authorities call it a major problem because the accused criminals stole the identities of many Utah residents — including children…
Along with evidence of forged documents, agents found signs of illegal drug and firearms trafficking…
Many of those arrested are illegal immigrants with violent pasts…
Shurtleff said, “Those are the aliens that are here for one purpose, and that is to break Utah law. That is to deal drugs and to run drugs, to kidnap and murder.”
After the murder of Utah Deputy by an illegal immigrant(s) with criminal histories. It seems those recently arrested also had previous brushes with the law and, yet, made it back into the country to continue their ‘pursuits’.
In the above article, a few legislators talk tough:
Rep. Brad Dee, R-Ogden, said, “We understand whose responsibility this is. We decided we are not going to stand still in Utah. We are going to take that responsibility and do something about this.”
Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, asked, “Who is going to check [child ID theft] — for years? That could go on until they’re [the victims] in their late teens until anyone finds out.”
Currently, SB251 is sitting on the Senate’s 2nd Reading Calendar. SB 251 would require that employers use E-Verify (a free web-based quick response tool provided by ICE) to verify the identity of a potential new hire. With a few clicks, they could know if the applicant is a citizen or legal immigrant and eligible to work. Plus, as a bonus to the business, using E-Verify also provides legal protections should an identity thief slip through.
E-Verify would almost end identity theft involving children unless a 20 year-old ID thief can pass himself off as a 5 year old girl…and convince the employer to ignore child labor laws. Additionally, identity verification would help cut off the demand for easy-to-produce fraudulent IDs. Don’t forget that illegal immigrants are not the only market for such documents – fugitives and deadbeats (avoiding wage garnishment etc) also need fake IDs.
In the meantime, local governments are still not employing the system they were mandated to use in SB81 last year.
With just a few days left in the legislature’s session, it will be interesting to see if there is any follow through on this problem. You may want to contact your State legislator and remind them that talk is cheap.