Illegal immigration is a hot topic. It is the backdrop of today’s commentary, but it is not what the commentary is about. I focus on fraud. Here’s the challenge: once in United States, the undocumented immigrant – like anyone else – needs identification. And, that’s where fraud often comes into the picture. Today’s “Fraud of the Day” from Kansas City infoZine focuses on one Missouri woman’s role in helping to perpetrate identity fraud to secure driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. (Basically, she created a “fast lane” for undocumented immigrants.)
The article reports that the St. Joseph, Missouri native pleaded guilty in federal court to her participation in an over $5 million conspiracy, taking advantage of the Missouri Department of Revenue license office, which she utilized to distribute more than 3,500 illegal licenses. (She must have had billboards and TV spots to get this type of response!) From November 2009 to January 2012, undocumented immigrants traveled to the St. Joseph license office with the defendant so they could obtain a driver’s or non-driver’s license.
So, how did the scheme work? The undocumented immigrants were coached by the defendant and her sister, who pleaded guilty on the same charges, on information contained in illegal birth certificates and Social Security cards. (And these came from where?) They were prompted to remember the information, in case asked to recite it on those documents. In addition, they were advised to perfect signatures of the names on those fake documents, to ensure consistency upon all documentation they would need to sign. (Talk about a “best practices” guide.) Those who were not Missouri residents were provided with Missouri addresses.
The defendant and her sister typically charged the undocumented immigrants between $1,500-1,600 for the illegal documents, direction and provision of license(s), and they collected over $5 million as a profit.
Under federal statues, the defendant will face up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine of up to $250,000.
This article is about identity fraud. To prevent identity fraud, agencies need to start leveraging identity-based solutions. Here, we know the key pieces of information (e.g., SSN, birth certificates, addresses) were stolen or fake. Identity-based filters are designed to flag anomalies based on the individual’s identity information.
So, here’s the question for the day: how might your agency leverage identity-based filters to prevent fraud?