Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Dallas Independent School district has been providing fake social security number to foreign citizens in an attempt to get them on the payroll quickly. Some of the numbers used were already assigned to citizens living elsewhere. In some cases, the certification office used the numbers to run criminal background checks on the new hires.
In an internal report issued in September, the district’s investigative office said that the Texas Education Agency learned of the bogus practice in 2004 and informed DISD that the practice “was illegal.” How long DISD has been issuing the fake numbers is unclear, and it is unknown how many have been issued. The report indicates, however, that the practice went on for many years and was discontinued only last summer.
The fake numbers were issued as a stopgap to expedite the hiring process when hiring positions particularly for bilingual education. The individuals receiving the bogus SSN’s were supposed to tell the officials when they receive their real numbers so they fake ones could be replaced. The investigation found no indication that the fake numbers were provided to the Teacher Retirement System, the IRS, or the SSA.
In July, the district confirmed that 26 of the false numbers were in use after accessing the Social Security Administration database. Liberty accesses a similar system through our partner, Form I9, which verifies the eligibility of a name and social security number electronically. It is unknown at this time whether anybody holding those numbers has been negatively affected.
Though the school district was told to stop issuing the numbers in 2004, the Texas Education Agency’s director, Doug Phillips said his office believed the practice had been stopped at that time. He said Thursday that he was unaware of a law that forbid issuing fake Social Security numbers, “We knew it looked bad and smelled bad. That was the first time we ever heard of that one.”
It is unknown at this time what, if any, action DISD will face for these charges.