Pretty Blossoms, but the Weed of Crime Bears Bitter Fruit

 

An American citizen, a single mother, worked her way through undergraduate and professional schools. She did all the right things. She networked successfully. At long last, she got a job with a six figure salary at a highly secured facility, in an industry under intense federal regulation.

Employment at such facilities is subject to constant federal scrutiny. The FBI takes the security clearances very seriously, and apparently routinely monitors indicators of risk, of possible compromise. We should all want this, because very bad things could happen if an employee in the right position was corrupted or coerced, perhaps by blackmail.

Now, Jeb!, the Chamber of Commerce wing of the Republican Party, and the red-green alliance all assure us that illegal aliensmigrants” come here as an “act of love.” We are hectored about some duty to be grateful and welcoming to all. We are incessantly told that these are really good people, not criminals.

Yet, every step of the process of getting and staying here involves criminal activity. A central crime, crucial to an illegal alien getting what they want out of our society, is identity theft. So, someone stole the identity of the American woman who had done all the right things to finally reach an upper-middle class life.

Now a string of financial and other crimes began to attach to the unsuspecting woman’s Social Security number. This threw red flags and she was promptly fired. No, there was no grace period, no administrative leave while she tried to untangle her life from the stink of serious vulnerability to corruption or blackmail. Indeed, it was her relative, who had been her key job network connection, who had to fire her.

Our All-American woman had to hire attorneys, somehow, and had to get every instance of identity fraud proven as such. Eventually, she ended up getting a court order pronouncing her factually innocent of all identity related offenses. If you thought that courts are not in the business of pronouncing innocence, you would be largely correct. Yet, identity theft is so pervasive, and so destructive, that states have enacted laws providing for just such court orders.

Our hapless citizen carries these two pieces of paper, heavily creased from repeated folding, in her wallet. Any time she faces a traffic stop, the drill is license, registration, proof of insurance, and the magic papers. These instruct the officer that all the garbage he sees on his cruiser’s computer is to be dismissed, that he must not arrest her. The date on the court order? 2013.

But, all the court orders in the world do not clear out the internet. Almost all employment applications pass through computerized screening systems in HR departments. So, our factually innocent and highly qualified woman, an American citizen who should be benefiting from the amazing job market, never makes the initial cut. That leaves only a few kinds of legal employment.

She is back to bartending, which is how this story came to you. It was a very slow evening at a local post of a federally recognized veteran’s organization. I was talking with another long-time member and the bartender, when her story unfolded like her well-worn court order, which I read.

Now she needs to update the court order, and she needs to avoid extradition to Texas. You see, someone bought or rented a car and the car was seized with serious felony weight drugs in Texas. Sure enough, her Social Security number was linked to the car purchase, rental, or registration.

You would think she would be immediately cleared of suspicion, but consider her present situation: fallen from the top of the fourth to the bottom of the second earnings quintile, back to bartending. She sure looks like a possible suspect, lending her compromised identity to make a quick buck with a cartel. So, law enforcement will have to squander resources eliminating her as a conspirator in this criminal enterprise.

She has one lawyer for the identity theft fight. She must, from time to time, secure the services of a criminal lawyer to deal with the latest law enforcement agency that sees some part of her identity connected with another crime. There is another lawyer, working pro bono, who is interested in trying to reform federal law to better protect citizens from such violations.

Ah, but identity theft need not be connected with illegal immigration. True. And. The volume of human trafficking is such that transnational cartels are major consumers of false identities. And the first round of our innocent, injured American woman’s torments had one or more illegal aliens attached in the course of the investigation leading to her being found factually innocent.

She burns with anger every time she hears a media shill or politician spewing lines about how beneficial illegal aliensmigrants” are to America. She has counted the cost. She does the math repeatedly. She has already lost well over half a million dollars in wages alone.

The weed of crime has borne bitter fruit, indeed. How many more pretty, sweet-smelling blooms will lull the American voter into letting politicians cultivate these weeds? Will we shrug and offer excuses or supposed patches for the real victims, if we even truly acknowledge them? Will we be lulled and distracted until the garden of our republic is choked with weeds of corruption and contempt for our constitutional order?

Published in Group Writing
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There are 20 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    My brother had that happen with his SSN. He is a law enforcement officer. He was not fired or anything, but it did take time to clean things up.

    • #1
    • May 25, 2019, at 1:57 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    The Shadow came to mind as soon as I heard this story. My mother has always told the story of her father outside the children’s bedrooms uttering the famous line and laugh after the family had listened to the latest episode on the radio.


    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under the May 2019 Group Writing Theme: Blooming Ideas. We still have a couple open days. Please stop by and sign up!

    Also, June’s theme is posted now, sign up to write about “Hot Stuff!”

    • #2
    • May 25, 2019, at 3:14 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. Hank Rhody-Badenphipps Esq Contributor

    The longer I think about the problems related to internet security the more I begin to wonder if it might not just be better to give up on all forms of identification past knowing someone personally.

    It’s crap like this what makes that seem reasonable.

    • #3
    • May 25, 2019, at 8:42 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Arahant (View Comment):

    My brother had that happen with his SSN. He is a law enforcement officer. He was not fired or anything, but it did take time to clean things up.

    The issues are how sensitive is the position, considering the harm that could be done in the particular organization, and whether you have the protection of government civil service laws.

    • #4
    • May 25, 2019, at 11:47 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    My brother had that happen with his SSN. He is a law enforcement officer. He was not fired or anything, but it did take time to clean things up.

    The issues are how sensitive is the position, considering the harm that could be done in the particular organization, and whether you have the protection of government civil service laws.

    Oh, yes. Understood.

    • #5
    • May 25, 2019, at 11:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Bruce Caward Thatcher

    It’s a pity that once she has gone through that process and found innocent, she can’t be issued a new SSN. And an alert put out on the old one that anyone using it for anything is to be arrested immediately.

    • #6
    • May 26, 2019, at 4:34 AM PDT
    • 20 likes
  7. ctlaw Coolidge

    Also, the banks and credit card companies seem more concerned about protecting the thieves than about protecting the honest customer.

     I had a bogus charge on a credit card and the credit card company wouldn’t tell me details about it. I then called the number listed for the vendor who was happy to provide me impending delivery details on the goods the criminal purchased. 

    The local police in the delivery jurisdiction had no interest in staking out the location. 

     Similarly, AT&T sent a replacement for my iPhone to a criminal. I only found out about it a week later when I was contacted by their customer service survey firm to see how my replacement phone experience went. AT&T would not provide me details citing customer privacy. 

    • #7
    • May 26, 2019, at 4:54 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  8. Quietpi Member

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    It’s a pity that once she has gone through that process and found innocent, she can’t be issued a new SSN. And an alert put out on the old one that anyone using it for anything is to be arrested immediately.

    She can be issued a new SSN. There are a lot of hoops to jump through. And updating your SSN in the myriad places that have and use your SSN is not for the the faint of heart – or impatient. But it’s probably worth it.

    However, databases are such that you will never really divest yourself of the old SSN. It will remain associated with your name, and any database search will turn up both SSN’s.

    When I do database searches, it’s not at all uncommon maybe even normal, to find more than one SSN associated with the name, and I’ve learned that can happen in many ways, not nefarious. Probably the most common is something like a rental company, doing a credit check, misreads a digit, or hits the wrong key. Then there are people with bad credit who try to hide it by altering their own SSN, usually changing only one digit or so. If they hit your SSN by chance, then whatever (alias?) that person was using will be married up to your identity.

    I used to get concerned when I spotted these things going on, and I used to inform the person that s/he needed to figure out what was going on. It’s so common now that I don’t bother.

    A common procedure for illegals, particularly those involved in the drug trade, is to go to an identity dealer (I don’t know what else to call them). For some amount of $$, s/he is handed a baggie with everything s/he needs: High – quality forgeries of an SSN card, birth certificate, etc. The SSN is one that is mined from some source like a security breech, of a real, living person, or maybe one associated with a deceased infant. Then they go to a state that issues DL’s with little scrutiny. Then take that DL to the state that may require more proof of ID, but accept the other state’s DL as proof (In my experience, that state has been California). And they’re “in.”

    Federal “Real ID” laws are going to make this harder, but I’m certain the bad guys are already working on ways to defeat the system. They’ll succeed.

    You’re right, law enforcement really isn’t interested in pursuing these crimes. They’re about as common as parking tickets, they’re always multi – jurisdictional, a LOT of work, low probability of success of any sort, minimal sentences. From the LE position, there’s zero incentive.

    • #8
    • May 26, 2019, at 7:15 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  9. Quietpi Member

    ctlaw (View Comment):
    Also, the banks and credit card companies seem more concerned about protecting the thieves than about protecting the honest customer.

    Aren’t privacy laws wonderful?

    • #9
    • May 26, 2019, at 7:16 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Paul Erickson Member

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    ctlaw (View Comment):
    Also, the banks and credit card companies seem more concerned about protecting the thieves than about protecting the honest customer.

    Aren’t privacy laws wonderful?

    Yeah. The accused is innocent until proven guilty. The victim is guilty after proven innocent.

    • #10
    • May 26, 2019, at 9:32 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. MarciN Member

    Maybe the best answer is to not tie everything to our social security number and stop treating it as a type of currency. Perhaps that is the underlying problem. It is a compromised system now. We need to accept that fact.

    • #11
    • May 26, 2019, at 9:51 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  12. Unsk Member

    Marci- “Maybe the best answer is to not tie everything to our social security number and stop treating it as a type of currency. Perhaps that is the underlying problem. It is a compromised system now. We need to accept that fact.”

    Yes it is a compromised system now. But any system we used would be compromised if Illegals and others of the criminally derelict class are allowed to go on crime sprees, as they are, without any consequence. The hideous compromise of our individual citizen’s security is a feature, not a bug, to the Chamber of Commerce/ Progressive Leftist Alliance. What better way to beat down our citizens into submission as totally controlled powerless serf-drones? That is why nothing will be done to fix the situation. Cocaine Mitch, Paul Ryan, Justin Amash, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Shumer, Joe Biden et al, plus our new overlords at Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Twitter do not want to fix it, so it will not be done. 

    As an aside, something like 42% of all Federal Crimes are committed by non-citizens who comprise only 7% of the population- oops I’m sorry I may have offended some snowflake someplace by asserting the truth. 

    • #12
    • May 26, 2019, at 5:31 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. Bruce Caward Thatcher

    Stealing a man’s horse used to be a capital crime, not because a horse was so special, but because it was so easy to do and the society couldn’t function if you couldn’t depend on your horse being where you left it.

    If our SSN is so important that that woman’s life can be so upended by someone stealing it, if the State has tied so much of our ability to conduct our lives efficiently around this SSN that THEY INVENTED, shouldn’t we make this a “Drogon, dracarys!” situation? Nobody is using a stolen ID by mistake.

    • #13
    • May 26, 2019, at 7:50 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  14. Bruce Caward Thatcher

    Just imagine if the talk around the caravan on the way up was “maybe we should rethink this; I’ve heard the Americans really respect their laws”.

    • #14
    • May 26, 2019, at 8:01 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  15. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    Stealing a man’s horse used to be a capital crime, not because a horse was so special, but because it was so easy to do and the society couldn’t function if you couldn’t depend on your horse being where you left it.

    If our SSN is so important that that woman’s life can be so upended by someone stealing it, if the State has tied so much of our ability to conduct our lives efficiently around this SSN that THEY INVENTED, shouldn’t we make this a “Drogon, dracarys!” situation? Nobody is using a stolen ID by mistake.

    If we were collectively serious about it, we would stiffen penalties and change the legal/regulatory balance on financial institutions such that they would be highly motivated to help the authorities and the real victims.

    • #15
    • May 26, 2019, at 8:01 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  16. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Maybe the best answer is to not tie everything to our social security number and stop treating it as a type of currency. Perhaps that is the underlying problem. It is a compromised system now. We need to accept that fact.

    And the people who use the system for their advantage – lenders, gov’t, et. al. should be made responsible for the failures of that system, not the people who are compelled to use it in order to get service from those agencies. 

    This woman has been doubly wronged. 

    • #16
    • May 27, 2019, at 9:59 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Some long time ago, Mother Jones had an article that detailed all the problems inherent with unlimited rampant immigration.

    One interesting detail, some poor woman who lived in the Great Plains region had had her identity stolen over 200 times!

    • #17
    • May 28, 2019, at 12:47 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    My spouse does business with clients across the Globe. In California, many of his clients have had their identity stolen. One poor woman lost $$ 50 k to the thieves.

    Being in her late 80’s, she had no idea of a “Life Lock” style of business. When a younger relative helped her try and establish her Life Lock identity, the victim of fraud found out that the thieves held that protection – and since they held the password to her account, they were considered legit while she wasn’t.

    The DA in Los Angeles has insisted she come in to their office. Eighty nine years old, and unable to drive, she is expected to go to them. Seems rather strange to me. After all, the police routinely do car chases for a mere 1,500 bucks of goods stolen from Target or Marshall’s. Sometimes innocent bystanders are killed when these high speed chases occur. So why can’t they go to the home of an elderly person?

    • #18
    • May 28, 2019, at 12:54 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    TBA (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Maybe the best answer is to not tie everything to our social security number and stop treating it as a type of currency. Perhaps that is the underlying problem. It is a compromised system now. We need to accept that fact.

    And the people who use the system for their advantage – lenders, gov’t, et. al. should be made responsible for the failures of that system, not the people who are compelled to use it in order to get service from those agencies.

    This woman has been doubly wronged.

    A friend commented that the response of government and industry, to supposedly make us more secure by switching to biometric data, is fraught with even more peril. No system is fool-proof or invulnerable to compromise, and the level of trust associated with these supposedly superior systems will draw sophisticated attacks.

    If your biometric “signature” can be stolen, if it can be faked, how on earth do you prove yourself innocent? It seems to me that we need to be baking the remedies into law now.

    • #19
    • May 28, 2019, at 1:46 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Maybe the best answer is to not tie everything to our social security number and stop treating it as a type of currency. Perhaps that is the underlying problem. It is a compromised system now. We need to accept that fact.

    And the people who use the system for their advantage – lenders, gov’t, et. al. should be made responsible for the failures of that system, not the people who are compelled to use it in order to get service from those agencies.

    This woman has been doubly wronged.

    A friend commented that the response of government and industry, to supposedly make us more secure by switching to biometric data, is fraught with even more peril. No system is fool-proof or invulnerable to compromise, and the level of trust associated with these supposedly superior systems will draw sophisticated attacks.

    If your biometric “signature” can be stolen, if it can be faked, how on earth do you prove yourself innocent? It seems to me that we need to be baking the remedies into law now.

    In California, the entire thrust of every action of almost every local District Attorney Office is relating to helping the immigrants get here.

    As Tucker Carlson makes abundantly clear, at least once every ten days on his nightly show, when immigrants are caught using fake ID, including stolen ID numbers, the law looks the other way. Only remember: if you were born in this country, don’t try this out. After all, this activity is a felony punishable with serious fines and in jail.

    • #20
    • May 28, 2019, at 1:54 PM PDT
    • 3 likes