Friday, June 15, 2007

Another victim of the system

Drew You Too posted a couple comments to my blog, including one that links to his experiences as a victim of the same crime. He's clearly pursued the matter further than I have at this point. What he's found out so far is extremely disturbing. Here's a snippet from his blog:
There must be some legal recourse you’re thinking. There isn’t. Well let me rephrase that, if I were wealthy I would have plenty of legal options. As I stated before I am on the verge of losing everything I own so needless to say I don’t have five to ten thousand dollars to drop on a high priced lawyer as a retainer. I have spoken with eight different attorneys and all have said that they would require a minimum retainer of two and a half thousand dollars to assist me. That assistance would only be in clearing my name at the national level and would not involve any monetary compensation. In other words, it’s not profitable so we don’t want to touch it. I have spoken with my State Senator on the phone and been told that I am doing everything I can. Gee, thanks Congressman, I feel a lot better now about my tax dollars paying your salary. I have contacted the Federal Trade Commission, Social Security Administration, ACLU, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (who petitioned Congress to do something about this particular form of identity theft in 2004), and several other groups and agencies. The general consensus is that without money I am doing everything that can be done currently, all at my expense of course.

Perhaps the biggest insult of all comes in the form of how this will continue to affect me even once I have been cleared at the National level. For the rest of my life (that is assuming I can continue to stomach living in this country) I will have to report to the Authorities once a year. I will have to be fingerprinted and have a background check run on myself . Upon being cleared I will be issued documentation that I have to carry on my person AT ALL TIMES. Also, once the information is cleared from my record there is no guarantee that the Data will not once again be merged. In addition, the documentation will not prevent harassment by Police or other law enforcement agencies. After all, if they can't be bothered upon booking and incarcerating a criminal to verify their identity they're certainly not going to do much better with a routine traffic stop.

(Full text here: It could happen to you)
So what happens next? Well, here's a snippet from another post on Drew's blog:
I have gotten my "clearance" from state Authorities regarding my criminal record and nothing has changed. Well, okay, something has changed. Any small shred of hope I had for ever regaining my life has now completely vanished. The State Authorities have issued me a letter of clearance which I took to the Local Authorities. The Certificate and letter state that "I have no criminal record" and the Local Authorities view is that since "I have no criminal record", there is no reason for them to remove the charges that are on my local criminal record. The State Records Inspection Department determined that someone was arrested as me in 1997, but since it was verified though Fingerprint Identification that it was not me that I have no reason to pursue this matter further. No reason to pursue this matter further?!! Why the hell couldn't they have verified in 1997 when the offender was arrested that he was not me? And what kind of drugs are these people on to think that after having this ruin my life for the last decade that I have "No reason to pursue this further"???

(Full text here: Disgustapated)
In my post Why don't they just fix the error? I speculated on the obvious question, "Why don't they just fix the error?" Drew responded with the most reasonable explanation I've seen yet. There's certainly an incentive to sweep these mistakes under the rug.

Drew wrote:
They don't just fix the error because that would be an admission of guilt by Law Enforcement. Admission of guilt + correction of record = Civil Liability. Sucks doesn't it? And for all these comments suggesting you sue, I suppose they don't realize that when you can't get a job (a REAL job) you can't afford an attorney. I've only found ONE attourney who would handle my case and the lawsuit it involves and he won't touch it unless I have at least $50,000 dollars to spend on the litigation. Fifty Grand???!!! I'm lucky these last two years if I have Fifty Cents in my pocket.
I'm just so disgusted with this whole thing. A system like this is not what our forefathers fought and died for. The constitution says that it is our right to face our accusers. We were denied that right, but rather than set things straight, the government would prefer to continue victimizing the victims in order to avoid possible liability for its negligence.

Remember that article from the Washington Post about Elias Fishburne that I wrote about back in April? Here's an excerpt from the newspaper article:

A brochure from the District Court of Maryland explains that if Fishburne wants to expunge the record he shouldn't have, he will first have to sign a waiver freeing the state from any liability and forfeiting any right to sue.

Anyone starting to see a pattern here? Is this the type of country that we want to live in? What's it going to be like when our children grow up if we continue to accept these things? Will they have a government that serves them well, or will they be servants of their government? I've already picked my side in that battle.

Don't wait for the mainstream media to pick your presidential candidates for you otherwise you'll be voting for the lesser of two sell-outs. Voting in November 2008 alone is not going to get us out of this mess. If you want a change you need to start doing your research now so you can vote in the primaries. There are good candidates that aren't hard to find if you look. Remember, the candidates with the most funding are the candidates that will get the most air-time. And, the candidates that are getting the most funding now aren't being funded by organizations with America's citizens' best interests at heart. Just some food for thought.

Next post: Halloween Update


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links and comment, it's good to know I'm not the only one who has his eyes open these days. In reply to your question about which State I'm in: I'm in Georgia, we're neighbors. And so far as remaining anonymous is concerned, like yourself I am past the point of caring about my anonymity. It's very likely I am about to change my name and SSN as this is the only way I have found to shake the record of the Full Time Felon who stole my life. He will be paroled next month and I really don't feel like being a punching bag for the next set of charges to work it's way down the pipes. Also, so that you will be aware, I have tried to get debt relief through credit counseling agencies and been told I have "insufficient income" and was given the same response when trying to file for Bankruptcy. As the only job I have been able to get is a part time minimum wage job, of course my income is insufficient (I wouldn't have been able to get even this job if I had not know the store manager and company district manager personally). Up until a few years ago I could have qualified for Bankruptcy but new legislation passed by our beloved leadership changed all that. It is now pretty much impossible to qualify for Chapter 7 and in order to file Chapter 11 or 13 you have to prove that you are capable of repaying the debts on some level. Please keep in touch with me through my blog and I will try to do the same. I will continue to hope that you have more success in dealing with this matter than I have had.


Anonymous said...

As an afterthought I just realized that I might be able to better help you understand the difficulty in resolving the problem. You and likely most other people aren't aware of the path your personal information takes in order to get to an employer background check. Here's what happens with your most sensitive information as it travels from false arrest to background check:

1. Criminal aressted using your FULL NAME, SSN, and Date of Birth.

2.Criminal booked, incarcerated, tried, and released.

3. Local Law Enforcement passes false information to State Agency.

4. State Agency passes false information to Department of Justice (FBI, same difference really).


5. The FBI SELLS (Yes you read that correctly) your PERSONAL information to HUNDREDS of companies that provide credit and background screenings for employers. Once all of thes companies have the false information there is no FED or State regulation which requires them to monitor or correct the information.

So there you go, the real problem here is profitability. You see, the FBI says it can't handle Background checks for employers because it doesn't have the manpower. So instead of creating a department to handle the PRIVATE INFORMATION of the citizens it is supposed to protect, it SELLS the information to all of these private companies who aren't regulated, controlled, or even monitored.

Just thought you should be aware, it took me quite a bit of digging to follow the trail of false charges from beginning to end.

Keeep in touch friend.

Todd Fennell said...

Thanks for explaining this. This is one of the things I intended to write about but it somehow slipped my mind. You're absolutely correct about the process.

It also appears that the false information travels the other way as well. Meaning that the FBI, or someone, passes the damaging information down to other state and local agencies. For example, Florida has added an additional level of confusion by creating FCIC (Florida Crime Information Center) which gathers data from the NCIC, other state criminal databases, local law enforcement, and "other Florida information systems."

I haven't found anything to convince me that it's anything other than one big mess. The more I think about it the more disgusted I get. Not just because it affects me, but for the complete callousness they have for destroying innocent people's lives.

Anonymous said...

Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. As I am about to become homeless I am sure you can guess that the delay is due to the fact that I don't have internet access. I am very curious to hear about your idea that you mentioned on my blog. I don't know if I'll be able to get back online today but I'll try. I have to get to my lovely part time minimum wage job now.


Anonymous said...

Just dropping by to say hi and see how you're holding up. Things are pretty much the same here. I'm about three weeks away from forclosure with no way of holding it off any longer. I guess I'll be joining the ranks of the homeless in a month or so. Just wanted to touch base and see when your next post was coming.

Anonymous said...

Hey Todd, Drew here. I guess that things are pretty much the same with you as they are with me and this is why you haven't posted in a while. I have nothing left to say about Criminal Identity Theft (nothing positive anyway). I just wanted to wish you good luck. It was at least some small comfort to have known that I am not the only one who has been raped by the system.


Todd Fennell said...


I guess I've just needed to forget about it for a while. There really doesn't seem to be much I can do about it without a boatload of money so I just try to accept the cards I've been dealt. Right now I'm just focusing on living my life. I've pretty much given up on the life I thought I'd have--house, family, well-paying IT job, etc.

I have some residual income off of software I've written while I've been unemployed but it's certainly not enough to be able to afford a house or even a decent car since my credit is absolutely trashed.

I am, however, planning on buying a used motorcycle, tent, and sleeping bag. After that, who knows?

Did you ever start your couch-surfing trip across the country? I know you were thinking about it.

I'm sending you an e-mail with some identity theft info to your yahoo account so keep an eye out for it.