Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The New Jersey Connection

So far I've tried to get everyone up to date with my current situation via this blog. However, I had to leave a lot of things out in order to get this far in the story this quickly. Now it's time to start filling in some of the blanks, starting with this post.

I knew from talking to the State Attorney's Office that I needed to file a report with the Miami-Dade Police Department. I was able to do this over the phone, so I was able to take care of this right away. The other thing they told me I had to do was file a report in person so they could verify that I wasn't the criminal that committed the crimes. This meant I needed to visit the local police department which I was somewhat reluctant to do given my recent experiences with the police.

I'd already scoured the Internet for information about the other AKA's that were listed on my record. One with the first name of "Makenton" stood out because it was a fairly uncommon name. The other reason it stood out was that the last known address I could find for Makenton was in Rahway, NJ. In 1989 and 1990 I went to school at DeVry Tech and the off-campus housing that they put me in was in Avenel, NJ, right on the border of Rahway, NJ.

I began to wonder if he knew someone at the school and was able to get my information there. Or maybe he or someone he knew moved into my old apartment and got mail directed to me after my mail stopped being forwarded to my next address. I'm still wondering these things because I still don't know how he got my information.

One night I was hanging out with some friends and we had the idea to check the Florida Department of Corrections website to see if they had any information. Sure enough, they had a record of him complete with a photo. Then I went on to check out the New Jersey Department of Corrections website. Bingo, another hit with a more recent photo. He was in prison in New Jersey for two counts of aggravated assault and attempting to cause serious bodily injury. The crimes had been committed in June of 1996. He was taken into custody on December 23, 2003. He'd been on the run for seven and a half years.

Prior to looking the the NJ DOC website I hadn't known about the assault charges. It put some things into perspective. The police officer from the bank grilling me about where I'd lived prior to my current address... I'd told him that I had moved down from New Jersey--and it just happened to be that I moved down from New Jersey not long after the assaults had been committed. No wonder he thought I was a criminal.

With the print-outs of the DOC information on Makenton AKA me, I finally felt I could walk into the local police station to file my report. I still notified a friend that I was on my way to file the report, just in case I didn't return.

After explaining my problem at the local police station I had to wait about an hour for a police officer to arrive to take my report. There were a couple people talking in the lobby, so the officer had me step outside with him to take the report. I asked him to run my driver's license through the computer in his car to see what would come up. After a couple moments a screen full of information popped up, and the audio on the computer said "WARRANT."

Looking at the screen, the first words out of the officer's mouth were "Man, this guy's a real piece of shit." He then told me that if I hadn't brought proof that it wasn't me we would have been taking a ride downtown. The county jail is located downtown, so in this case "downtown" isn't just a euphemism.

He said that the warrant probably was no longer in the JSO's computer, and that was why the JSO officer didn't arrest me. After all, the guy was already in prison, so the warrant was no longer valid. Unfortunately, not everyone has the updated information even though he had been in prison for over three years.

Next post: Why don't they just fix the error?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely terrible what has happened to you. What a horrible mess. It sounds like your situation is slowly getting better. Sadly it doesn't sound like things will ever be the same. I hope the criminal that did this to you get what he deserves. This case really illustrates the ignorance of our "Law enforcement officers" and government employees. Best of luck to you with this in the future. Please provide any information you have on how to prevent this from happening.

G27 Radio said...

Things ARE getting better, but as you can guess it's not due to any help I've received from government employees.

Despite not being able to get an IT job for the past five or so years I kept working on my skillset. Several months before I found out that I had a record I started on a software project that is finally starting to pan out. It's still not making much money, but at least now I can afford the necessities. And the customer base is growing slowly but steadily, so it's only getting better.

The upside is that I've figured out how to survive without working for someone else. I get to work from home and set my own hours. It will be really nice when I'm able to afford medical insurance and to put away some money for retirement again--I spent my 401k, so I will have to start again at 36 years old. Obviously I am going to have to save a lot if I want to have any decent kind of retirement.

I wish there was something I could tell people about preventing this from happening, but there really isn't. It all happened behind my back and even when the state found out they never notified me or did anything about it. If they had, my life would be a lot different than it is now. My hope is that by telling the story of what happened, eventually someone will decide that something needs to be done about the current state of affairs.

coyote said...

If this guy who stole your identity is in jail under your name, it seems like exposing him is a necessary step, too. Seems like some compensation might be in order, from the state(s) that have failed to fix the mess, if not for causing it, but I am no lawyer. It's tough to sue city hall, but sometimes people do it and win.

Very sorry for your situation; your story really exemplifies the sentiment, "There, but by the grace of God, go I."

On the plus side, lightning rarely strikes twice. Glad things are looking up, best of luck to you.

G27 Radio said...

Coyote,

I've exposed him as far as filing the police reports on the matter and explaining the problem to the State Attorney's Office. There is no doubt that he and I are not the same person.

I am not a lawyer either, but my understanding is this: if you want to sue the state, you must first receive permission from the state to even attempt to sue them. This could make it difficult to say the least. It's still a possibility though.

As far as trying to recover money from the criminal, that seems even more unlikely. From what I can tell he is a career criminal and likely a drug addict, so getting money out of him would be like trying to squeeze blood from a stone. It would be a waste of time and money to sue someone that will never have the money to pay me back anyway.

Despite having my life turned into such a mess, and being sent so far off track, I also have reasons to be thankful. The past couple years I've seen so many people that are so far down that they will never be able to get back up. Sometimes it's bad choices, and sometimes it's just bad luck that lands them out on the street.

Without the support of my family and friends I would have been out on the street--there's no question about it. When I look at these people that have nothing, no friends, no family, no skills, nothing but the clothes on their back, I realize how much I have to be thankful for. In the grand scheme of things, I'm still one of the lucky ones.

G27 Radio said...

PS. I forgot to mention this: When I filed the police reports last June he was in prison. For some reason he was released in November anyway. So apparently they never even bothered to charge him with identity theft crime, even after I filed reports with two different police departments and told them the exact prison where he was located. I'll be writing about that in a future post.

Xeleema said...

I found your blog after passing thru a few links on Digg (or was it SlashDot?). Which lead me to think; you might have just become "popular" on the InterWeb, and you did mention that you develop software for a living. As I'm sure you don't want to advertise the exact application/service you offer, perhaps you could throw out a few links for those of use with some extra cash to burn...

Kamyar said...

I lost my appetite after reading your story. I saw a link to your website through slashdot and I just felt incredibly sick. I've heard of identity thefts causing people years of bad credit that can never be recovered, but then seeing you go through the whole legal problems with the police...

It also sickens me that your entire life is ruined and local and state officials and officers do absolutely nothing to help you. They would only start to care if it had happened to them.

I second what xeleema said - I would be more than happy to help support your projects for as long as I can.