Friday, March 20, 2009

Supreme Court: "does it matter whether someone using a phony ID knows that belongs to someone else?"

Fox News

Ignacio Carlos Flores-Figueroa, an illegal alien from Mexico, made what he calls a bad decision. Everything was okay until his employer got suspicious and called in the authorities when Flores-Figueroa, who was working under an assumed name for six years decided to exchange ONE set of phony identification numbers and started to use his REAL name.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on prosecutors' aggressive use of a new law that was intended to strengthen efforts to combat identity theft. In at least hundreds of cases last year, workers accused of immigration violations found themselves facing more serious identity theft charges as well, "without any indication they knew they are counterfeit Social Security and other identification numbers belong to actual people and were not made up."

The charge for identity theft would carry a minimum prison term of two years and the government hopes that this would help persuade illegal aliens to plead guilty to lesser immigration charges, and except prompt deportation.
Flores-Figueroa acknowledges he used fraudulent documents to get and keep his job at a steel plant in East Moline, Ill. But he "had no intention of stealing anyone's identity," his lawyers said in their brief to the court. He traveled to Chicago and bought numbers from someone who trades in counterfeit IDs.

this case hinges on how the justices rule resolve the question of, "does it matter whether someone using a phony ID knows that it belongs to someone else?"

Victims rights groups say "no".
The "havoc wrecked on the victim's life is the same either way," said Stephen Masterson, a Los Angeles-based lawyer, in his brief for the victims' rights groups.

Flores-Figueroa and more than 20 immigrants' rights groups, defense lawyers and privacy experts said that the congressional law passed in 2004 against identity theft was intended to be against those people who gain access to private information in order to drain people's accounts, run up their bills under someone else's name.

An additional 100 workers were also arrested in the same raid were using unassigned numbers and face charges with little prospect of prison time.

The case is Flores-Figueroa v. U.S., 08-108.

despite the issue of identity theft, what does it matter if the numbers are made or real?

The issue is that somebody is using PHONY identification and Social Security numbers that do not belong to them.

If the Supreme Court decides that it is a lesser crime if the numbers do not belong to anybody, then aren't they just encouraging more people to use phony names and Social Security numbers?

Or is this just another example of how the laws of the United States only apply to citizens of the United States.

And... if the employer had used e-verify, would Flores-Figueroa have been hired in the first place?


Blogger Bobkatt said...

This one line from the article really gets me: "But he "had no intention of stealing anyone's identity," his lawyers said in their brief to the court."
Maybe he had no intention of stealing anyone's identity but he didn't mind stealing their job. But hey, maybe there aren't any legal unemployed steel workers in Illinois. Do you think?

11:58 PM  
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