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Centerville Theater: No Taxpayer Funds For Identity Thieves

 

CitizensForTaxFairness.org has formally requested members of the administrative board of the new Centerville regional theater to ensure that no taxpayer funds go to illegal aliens using the stolen identities of Utah children.

 

A copy of the letter sent to Bountiful’s representative on the board follows.  Copies were also sent to Mayors Johnson (Bountiful) and Russell (Centerville).

 

September 29, 2008

 

 

John Marc Knight

Bountiful City Council

Bountiful, Utah

(via e-mail)    

 

Dear Councilman Knight:

 

We are writing you in your capacity as a member of the administrative board (Board) that is overseeing the use of Bountiful RAP taxes for the Centerville Regional Theater project.

 

As you know, CitizensForTaxFairness.org is a voluntary, South Davis County grassroots citizens group.  A key element of our mission is to ensure that taxpayer funds are used only for legitimate purposes. 

 

Like you, we want to ensure that our tax monies are not used to hire illegal immigrants or to contract with firms that use illegal immigrant labor.  And also like you, we specifically do not want RAP tax and state taxpayer funds to go to entities that hire illegal immigrants. 

 

Perhaps even more importantly, like the Utah state legislature and Governor Huntsman, we want to ensure that taxpayer funds, never contribute to employment related identity theft – a felony – that occurs when illegal immigrants use Social Security numbers belonging to Utah’s men, women and children in order to obtain employment.

 

Therefore, we respectfully request that you apply the following to all contracts issued for the construction of the new theater and to new employees hired by the theater.

 

  1. Require that any contractor or sub-contractor working on the Centerville regional theater utilize the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify program or the services of a private sector agency that verifies employment eligibility and Social Security numbers.  This must be a pre-requisite for bidding on contracts and for any company or subcontractor receiving a contract that is paid for either partially or completely with taxpayer funds,  Furthermore, contracts should contain a provision requiring the recipient of taxpayer funding to immediately repay the total value of any funding previously received and to forfeit all future funding if the recipient fails to verify employment eligibility and Social Security numbers.

 

  1. Require the theater’s human resources officials to verify the employment eligibility and Social Security numbers of each new hire working directly for the theater in any capacity.

 

  1. Require the Board of the Centerville regional theater, its contractors and recipients of city funds to refer anyone found to be using a Social Security number or other document that does not belong to them to the appropriate law enforcement officials for prosecution.

These steps are needed because illegal driven identity theft is a major criminal problem.  In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission, job related identity theft accounts for a significant portion of all identity theft.  The major drivers of this crime are illegal immigrants who need Social Security numbers in order to obtain jobs.  All too often the victims of these identity thieves are Utah’s children.  In fact, in a 2005 press release, the Utah Attorney General’s office stated that,

“five people have been charged---and hundreds more may be charged----with stealing and forging social security numbers belonging to [Utah] children….The ongoing investigation has uncovered an alarming new crime spree involving illegal aliens and identities stolen from victims under the age of 12.”  (emphasis added)

 Attorney General Shurtleff told the public that:

"Identity thieves are no respecters of age. They will steal your children's ID, ruin their credit and hurt them in ways never thought possible before they can graduate from grade school.  Children are vulnerable even if parents do everything right." http://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/PrRel/prjuly152005.htm

Child identity theft in Utah was the subject of a KSL-TV report that received national attention on NBC nightly news.  As reported by KSL-TV:  http://real.ksl.com/video/slc/0/75/7596.ram

He became her, and when no one would undo the mess, they called us. Could what happen to this two-year old, happen to your child?

To an identity thief, they're the perfect victims, a child too young to check their credit. This is an investigation into how a two-year-old girl became a 38-year old man.

Arrested! Felony Charges! Booked in jail. Our investigation closed. Where it begins exposes a growing problem for parents of young children.

Camber Lybbert, Tyler's Mother: "She's basically got two loans out on her social security number. And I believe a credit card out, she's got 15-thousand dollars in debt."

On paper, two-year old Tyler Lybbert doesn't exist, 38-year old Jose Tinoco does. During our three month investigation, we watched Tinoco go about life in Orem. Meanwhile, in Draper, a mom fell deeper into her daughter's identity theft.

Camber Lybbert: "He's registered everything to her number, so he's pretty much become her without the name. "

The theory is that little Tyler was born into ID theft, her number randomly made up before she was conceived. ID thieves play the odds. Half of all social security numbers haven't been issued. They make one up and put it to use. Later, a newborn is assigned that number and inherits the debt and red tape.

At a symposium on identity theft, Utah State Representative Julie Fisher told those in attendance about how her son’s credit was damaged by an identity thief – a certain Alberto Gonazles.

These are not isolated incidents and Utah Assistant Attorney General Richard Hamp stated that well over 90% of the identity theft cases he prosecutes involve illegal immigrants. 

 

As reported in the May 3, 2006, Salt Lake Tribune:

According to Ronald Ingleby, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General in Utah, real Social Security numbers and accounts are being created, or purloined, by undocumented workers to circumvent employers' efforts to certify their legality.  http://www.sltrib.com/business/ci_3778628 

In addition, Mr. Ingleby said that ninety-eight percent of Social Security-related ID theft cases involve people who use their own names but use someone else’s Social Security number.  Mr. Ingleby further stated that millions of Social Security numbers are being used by illegal immigrants.

In 2006, we sent a letter similar to this to Governor Huntsman.  In 2007, the state adopted E-Verify and uses it to verify the Social Security numbers and identities of all new executive Department hires.  In 2008, the legislature passed SB81 which contains strong employment verification provisions for governmental entities at all levels and their contractors.

 

Therefore, it is imperative that the Board of the Centerville regional theater act decisively to protect our children and grandchildren from this job related, Social Security number only identity theft.  If a person who steals a Social Security number cannot use it to find a job with the theater or its contractors or subcontractors because the Board requires employment verification that protects all of Utah’s men and women and especially its children from employment related identity theft. 

 

We appreciate your willingness to implement employment verification safeguards.  Of course, should you and the Board fail to verify employment or to require that those benefiting from taxpayer funds do likewise, the Board will be in the unenviable position of allowing taxpayer funds and other incentives to be used to subsidize illegal immigration and to encourage and facilitate child identity theft. 

 

We thank you in advance for protecting all Utahans including our children and grandchildren from identity theft and for ensuring that taxpayer funds and RDA benefits never go to criminals either directly or indirectly.

 

Sincerely,

 

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