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Oltarsh & Associates, P.C. En Espanol

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS AND IDENTITY THEFT

Are workers who use false Social Security cards and/or false alien registration numbers committing a crime of identify theft?This issue is now before the United States Supreme Court. In three United States Courts of Appeal, in Missouri, Virginia and Georgia, the Courts have held that a worker who even uses a social security number that has been picked randomly out of thin air, if that number turns out to belong to a real person, it is identity theft. An immigrant who invented the number is guilty even if he/she did not know the number referred to a specific individual.By contrast , in Massachusetts, California and Washington, Courts of Appeal have held the opposite: that the individual using a fictitious number must know that the numbers refer to a specific person to be convicted of identity theft. This is a serious issue because the law of identity theft imposes a mandatory two year prison sentence. Considering that hundreds of thousands even millions of aliens resort to fictitious social security numbers to work, the mandatory sentence represents a grave threat. The Supreme Court should decide this issue by October, 2009.
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