Total identity theft is a growing form of crime among illegal aliens. These audacious thieves go beyond the financial fraud normally associated with ID theft by using the victim’s identity to completely assume the persona of the victim.
The Associated Press reports on the case of Wichita, Kansas resident Candida Gutierrez, whose total identity was allegedly stolen by illegal alien Benita Cardona-Gonzalez. The alleged thief used her identity to get a job, a driver’s license, a mortgage and medical care for the birth of two children.
Gutierrez said, “When she claimed my identity and I claimed it back, she was informed that I was claiming it too. She knew I was aware and that I was trying to fight, and yet she would keep fighting. It is not like she realized and she stopped. No, she kept going, and she kept going harder.”
The theft has forced Gutierrez to spend many hours cleaning up her credit history. She first learned about it over a decade ago when she was turned down for a mortgage. She tried to get the Social Security Administration to give her a new number but Cardona-Gonzalez did as well. The agency ended up issuing a new number to Cardona-Gonzalez and forced Gutierrez to file federal income tax forms using an ITIN, which illegal aliens normally use.
Authorities arrested Cardona-Gonzalez in August 2012. Her fingerprints confirmed that she had been deported to Mexico in 1996. She is now awaiting trial on charges of aggravated identity theft, misuse of a Social Security number and production of a false document.
Officials say that thieves become more confident in using an identity if they remain undetected over time. That’s when an identity is used for purposes other than just working. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson, who is prosecuting the Cardona-Gonzalez case, said “And so that is a natural progression, and that is what we are seeing.” He expects to see more cases of total identity theft “because we all know what is going on out there — which is thousands and thousands of people who are working illegally in the United States under false identities, mostly of U.S. citizens, and very little is being done about it. But we are doing something about it, one case at a time.”
In the past, illegal aliens pared their own name with a stolen Social Security Number to get a job or even file income taxes. But the use of fake numbers is more difficult now with the expanding use of E-Verify. The Social Security Administration used to send employers no-match letters when the data on W-2 forms did not match the agency’s records, but this practice was discontinued by the Obama Administration, at least for immigration purposes.
In 2011, employment-related fraud accounted for 8 percent of identity theft complaints but the numbers were higher in states with large illegal alien populations - 25 percent in Arizona, 15 percent in Texas, 16 percent in New Mexico, 12 percent in California.
Under the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an illegal alien who has used a fraudulent or stolen Social Security Number to obtain employment does not have to reveal the felonious act on an application for work authorization.
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Updated: Wed, Oct 24th 2012 @ 8:41am EDT