Background Checks for Michigan Tax Break Recipients

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Governor Jennifer Granhom ordered criminal and credit background checks for all business tax break recipients in the state of Michigan.

Last Tuesday, one such individual was scheduled to receive $9.1 million abatement, that person was a convicted embezzler.

The program called for is a "business integrity verification program." It calls for requiring tax credit applicants to answer an integrity questionnaire and agree to a civil, criminal, and credit background check in order to receive tax credits.

"We are fighting hard for every company investment that help us diversify our economy and create jobs for Michigan citizens, and this incident is wholly inconsistent with the work we're doing and the integrity of our whole process," Granholm stated.


3.3 Million Affected in Mass Idenity Theft

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In what is believe to be the largest ever breach of secure and private information, nearly 3.3 million people with student loans became the victims of a mass identity theft.

Names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other personal data were stolen using a portable media device. The Educational Credit Management Corp - a nonprofit guarantor of federal student loans is location in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In a growing string of mass identity theft, last weeks theft at ECMC is just another incident. Earlier this month, a former employee of HSBC Holdings allegedly stole data on 24,000 Swiss private bank accounts. In 2005, an estimated 40 million accounts serviced by the credit card payment processing company, CardSystems were compromised.

ECMC services more than $11 billion in student loans. The 320 employees at the St. Paul headquarters all have key card access and their security is being reviewed.


Medical Information Theft Rising

Monday, March 29, 2010

Criminals have devised a way to have expensive medical procedures billed to you. They set up fake clinics to bill for phony treatments. Thieves may also impersonate a patient, and there are some medical workers willing to download your records to sell.

Pam Dixon, founder of the World Privacy Forum, a non-profit consumer-research group based in San Diego, CA believes the rise of digital records is a large factor in the rise of medical information theft, "Once the files are in electronic form, the crime scales up quickly."

Patients medical records can be altered to reflect diseases and treatments they never had. The thief may change the patients address so they will not be aware of the charges and changes to their medical history.

Medical Identity Theft is about 2.5 times more costly than other types of ID frauds, said James Van Dyke, Javelin president - because the medical data can be used for a much longer period of time before the criminal is caught.

The average fraud involving health information as $12,000 compared with $,841 for general identity theft.


Nurse Hides Deadly Criminal Past

Friday, March 26, 2010

Joseph Angelo Mannino was hired as a data entry clerk at Lehigh Valley Hospital in North Carolina in 2005 - 13 years after injecting his college roommate with a deadly cocktail of drugs.

He spent two years in prison on manslaughter charges. Mannino eventually became a registered nurse at the hospital before another employee alerted the hospital to his past indiscretions.

Lehigh Valley Hospital spokesman, Brian Downs says that Maninno lied to the hospital about his criminal history on both his job and school applications. A criminal background check was conducted on Mannino at the time of his hire in 2005, but it wasn't comprehensive and didn't cover convictions in other jurisdictions.

The hospital now runs national criminal background checks and Maninno admitted to hiding his conviction. His license was revoked in 2009.


Police Chief Lies about Criminal Past

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fired by the Lewisville, Minnesota City Council last Wednesday, former police chief Dave Kleinschmidt had a criminal past and lied about his previous employment.

He lied to investigators about a car crash 2000 when he was a private citizen - that an unknown person had hit his car and fled, however, the person was a friend of Kleinschmidt's.

He was convicted of falsifying a police report - a conviction that was later overlooked when he was hired in February 2008. He was named police chief a year later. City officials don't agree on whether he passed a background check, the standard for all city employees. They cannot determine if council members were aware of his conviction before they hired him.

"The council has found that Mr. Kleinschmidt was not truthful, honest and candid with the council," the board wrote in a resolution to fire the chief.

City officials are considering disbanding the troubled Lewisville police department.


Dear Liberty...Your Questions, Answered

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Liberty received a great email the other day from a concerned employer:

"My current vendor for pre-employment background checks gave me an All-Clear on a candidate I screened in May 2009. The person has been employed at my company since then, but was recently arrested, ON SITE, for their active warrants!! When I contacted our vendor about it, they said the type of investigation we elected to implement didn't include the outstanding warrant! Of course, our company had no choice but to discontinue service, but my question to you is: How is it possible this wouldn't show up??"

There are many types of pre-employment criminal investigations, and they are not created equal. The type of search performed on your employee is not comprehensive and that is how records can be missed.

Many companies, especially in this day and age, choose these types of searches, called database searches, because they are less expensive. Be wary, often, when you're paying for less, you're getting less.

Liberty utilizes these database searches as well, but for very different reasons. Our QuickCheck search is a national criminal records search, but Liberty uses it as a pre-screening tool, a stop-gap measure that has the possibility to eliminate candidates in a matter of minutes.

Candidates that clear through the QuickCheck are sent on to perform a deeper more comprehensive background investigation that thoroughly searches criminal records from counties the candidate has resided in, and looks under any alias name we can find on the candidate.

Of course, that deeper investigation costs a legitimate amount more than our QuickCheck, but our clients know what they've got as soon as we do: peace of mind.

submit your questions here.


Pittsburgh Company Employs Felons for Fundraising

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Outreach Associates, Inc. appears to have violated a twenty-year old law making it unlawful anybody with a criminal history of dishonesty to solicit charitable donations.

Outreach president, Dennis McCarthy commented, "The statute was out there although Outreach operated apparently for decades without anybody saying anything. Ignorance is no excuse."

He went on to explain this his lawyers informed his criminals with offenses older than seven years with non-work related crimes could be employed.

10 employees with criminal backgrounds have been put on suspension. McCarthy pledged a thorough check of the company's 150 employees to determine whether anyone else has a criminal background.

The solicitors are provided their potential donors' home addresses and donation information, including the highest amount they pledged. Those who charge their donations provide the solicitors their credit card numbers.


States Reconsider Sex Offender Laws for Teens who "Sext"

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's national news now, when teens use their built in cell phone cameras and send explicit photographs of each other to other teens. It becomes national criminal news when those teens responsible are labeled as felony level sex offenders for distributing child pornography.

Phillip Alpert, 18, was one such teen charged with distribution of child pornography for mass texting photographs of his 16-year-old girlfriend after they had a fight.

A growing consensus of lawyers and legislators are starting to believe that child pornography laws are too blunt an instrument to deal with the new wave of adolescent cyberculture.

Last year, Nebraska, Utah, and Vermont reduced the penalties for teens who engage in "sexting" and in 2010, it is thought that 14 other states will consider such legislation as well.

"There is a lot of confusion about how to regulate cellphones and sex and 16-year-olds," Amy Adler, a law professor at New York University stated. "We're in this cultural shift, not only because of technology, but because of what's happening in terms of the representation of teen sexuality as you can see on 'Gossip Girl'."

Lawyers say that these cases are not what the harsh child pornography laws were intended for, however, some state supreme courts uphold the laws and penalties faced by the offenders, though young people are rarely, if ever, jailed for the practice.

One survey reports 1 in 5 teens engages in "sexting."

The laws themselves may be harsh, but some might argue that these teens don't truly understand the consequences of mass distribution of the private images of underage children. Their intentions, fueled by adolescent passions, could fall into the wrong hands, and the teens could be exploited unknowingly. The issue won't be going away anytime soon, and Liberty will be sure to keep you updated here at our blog.


Career Criminal Pulls of Bank Crimes

Friday, March 19, 2010

Professional criminal from Richmond reportedly helped steals millions of dollars from a bank in Brooklyn, NY. Afrim Kupa, 37, left blood at the scene of the crime.

Kupa and a team of burglars used a blowtorch to cut through the roof of the Astoria Federal Savings bank in February last year. They made off with 64 safety deposit boxes and more than $250,000 in cash. The total value stolen is unknown because safe deposit box owners rarely tell authorities how much cash they are storing in them.

Kupa has been involved in break-ins at banks and jewelery stores since the 1990s.

Kupa is being held without bail in the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.


E-Verify Cannot Detect Identity Fraud

Thursday, March 18, 2010

E-Verify is the government program that verifies employment authorizations of US citizen's and non-citizen's alike.

The system is fairly simple to use, though there are strict regulations surrounding the program. It has recently come under fire for inaccuracies. There is some indication, however, these inaccuracies are based solely on the fact that Human Resources representatives are not doing their share in verifying that documentation is legal and legitimate.

E-Verify is an excellent tool, but if an undocumented worker is borrowing a documented, authorized works papers, identification, and identity, there is truly no way to detect that they are fraudulent.

It is strongly advised that recruiters familiarize themselves with each type of documentation.

Liberty is happy to provide sample documentation upon request.


Missing Convictions, Why Database Searches are not Foolproof

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It is always interesting to discuss what people do for a living. How we all come together from different walks of life and how each of participates in making the world work in it's strange and unique way.

I love being among a group of people that are casual acquaintances. Inevitably, the subject of profession arises. Pre-employment background investigations always receives a raised eyebrow or two, and the "wink" and elbow jab - "Don't pull my information! You don't want to know!"

I tend to think these types of comments are usually joking, however, one night a casual acquaintance had several probing questions for me. Turns out he was able to obtain a job though he had a felony level conviction on his record. He was probing me to find out how that could have happened,

"It's been so hard finding work since it happened, I know they did a background check, but I didn't disclose the information! And they didn't find it!"

The company probably ran a criminal "Database" search. Database searches are inexpensive, making them a great pre-screening tool. But more and more, especially as the economy continues to struggle, companies are relying solely on these searches to weed out former criminals.

But obviously, they're not catching everybody. Lucky for a few of the unemployed. When I asked my acquaintance the nature of his crime? Felony level fraud: Identity Theft.

He is currently employed at your local bank.


180 Business Targeted by ICE for Form I-9 Inspections

Immigration enforcement is on the rise. Over the past year, the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") division has increased its scrutiny of employer I9 compliance.

In July 2009, ICE performed 652 highly publicized I9 inspections and 1,000 business and organization in the fall of 2009 as well.

Announced March 2nd - 180 business in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee have been issued Notices of Inspection.

This expanding enforcement effort reminds employers of the importance of the employment eligibility (i9) verification process, since even inadvertent paperwork errors may expose a company to fines, and intentional or neglectful violations could subject an employer to criminal penalties and sanctions.

By developing and implementing a due diligence program and utilizing Liberty's error-proof, paperless, electronic Form I9 for completing and maintaining I9's in conjunctions with annual audits performed by our I9 Compliance host, employers take proactive steps to improve their I9 compliance and minimize the risk of associated fines, penalties and employer sanctions.


BREAKING: Koch Foods Fined Over Half a Million Dollars in Immigration Raid

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Federal Authorities raided Koch Foods, Inc in a 2007 immigration raid in Fairfield, OH - just north of Cincinnati.

Authorities took in 161 workers who were in the country illegally at the Koch plant.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday that the fines are in direct relation to the filling out employment forms and verifying those forms.

Koch has since taken measures to avoid future violations and states that there is no evidence any at Koch knowingly broke the law.

Koch was fined over $536,000.

Ask Liberty to find out more about our services that include error-proof, paperless, electronic Form I9 to avoid your own fines.


Nurse Hides Murderous Criminal Past

When Nurse Charles Cullen admitted to killing 29 of his patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you would think Pennsylvania authorities would get serious about screening procedures.

Just four years after Cullen's arrest, another murderous nurse slipped into the area's nursing ranks.

Joseph A. Mannino killed a friend by injecting a lethal dose of medicine into a system. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and was apparently attempting to treat his friend's headache.

After receiving his nursing degree, he began working at Lehigh Valley Hospital until authorities there fired him in 2008 after discovering "he had not revealed on his application for employment that he had been convicted of a felony in North Carolina."

Mannino told the nursing board he couldn't get a job due to the felony conviction, so he simply stopped revealing it "out of frustration."

According to the order that revoked Mannino's Pennsylvania nursing license, "when he applied to nursing school, a criminal background check failed to reveal his conviction in North Carolina and he testified that he then believed it was in the past and was no longer relevant."

The nursing school Mannino attending, St. Luke's, began doing national criminal background checks on all students in 2008, a year after Mannino graduated - at the top of his class.

Since 2001, St. Luke's checked criminal records through the state police, who only look for offenses in Pennsylvania. Only those students who had lived in Pennsylvania less than two years were checked at a national level.

Though Mannino was fired once knowledge of his criminal past came to light, there were no complaints against him, and there is nothing in his patient care records to raise any flags. "He was dismissed for lying on his application. His work here was satisfactory and we have no cause of concerns based on his work."


NM Job Seekers Don't Have to Disclose Criminal Records

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson, became the second governor to sign into law a prohibition on criminal records disclosure.

The new law prohibits employment applications for government agencies from asking job seekers if they have been convicted of a crime. The measure covers job applications for state, county, or local government. Private businesses are not covered.

Employers may ask the question once they're face-to-face with applicants and they are still allowed to complete background checks on the candidates.

Minnesota passed a similar law in 2009. Both states took the measure to deter undue discrimination against those with a criminal past.


Do Driving Records Count Against Lawyers?

Friday, March 12, 2010

In an article for the Daily Record, the author certainly thinks so.

The author accuses mayor of Morristown, New Jersey, Tim Dougherty, of not property vetting his proposed municipal prosecutor, Craig Gigallon.

Albeit, Gilgallon has an extensive driving record of 2o suspensions in 20 years. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2004. The license, however, show mostly short periods of suspension for failure to pay fine or failure to appear.

What the author may not be aware of is that most traffic offenses are not considered criminal offenses - even license suspension. Also, if a motor vehicle report is considered when making hiring decisions, most records only go back for three years - some states have longer or even shorter limitations than that.

The author argues that as prosecutor he will be prosecuting others for the same offenses, and that is a good point.

What do you think? Are driving records with extensive histories to be considered when vetting for lawyers jobs?


Don't Forget the Marijuana

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lashamma Lawson went to the Dougherty County Jail on Monday, March 2nd in Albany, Georgia to pick up her prepared criminal background check for her new job.

Lawson forgot to remove the ten bags of marijuana from her purse before entering the jail and was arrested when her purse was searched.

Lawson was released on $5,000 bail.


Employee Fired after DWI Arrest

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

City Officials in Farmington, New Mexico are reconsidering the policy on criminal background checks after one employee was arrested in a DWI charge, revealing a significant criminal history.

Christos Derizotis, a court services coordinator for Farminton Municipal Court, was arrest on his seventh DWI charge on Feb. 21.

The DWI charge brought to light his extensive criminal past - aggravated battery, false imprisonment, criminal damage to property, impersonating a police officer among several others.

Donna Brooks, Human Resources Director for the city of Farmington said, "This will prompt us to do criminal background checks on probation type of people. We don't run criminal background checks on everyone, only those who handle money and IT people."

Derizotis drivers license was checked and revealed that the record was clean. The city also investigated his education history and check references.

Derizotis faces up to three years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.


Pain Clinic Raids - Florida

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Three South Florida pain clinics were raided by Federal narcotics agents last week. They were suspected of sending painkillers along black-market pipelines to Kentucky and other Appalachian states.

American Pain - Lake Worth, Executive Pain and East Coast Pain Clinic - West Palm Beach watched as agents of the DEA, and sheriff's offices carted way boxes of records after serving the clinics with search warrants.

All three clinics are owned and operated by Christopher and Jeffery George - 29 year-old twin brothers with criminal records. The brothers were highlighted in a Miami Herald report for selling painkillers at a pace unseen elsewhere in the country.

The George brothers have been charged with felony levels crimes of theft, selling stolen property, resisting arrest, and possession of illegal substances.

No arrests have been made.


Monday, March 8, 2010

In 2000, a man named John Gardner plead guilty to molesting his 13 year-old-neighbor. His psychiatrist testified that Gardner was "a continued danger to underage girls" and he recommended a 30 year sentence. But, in an effort to protect the victim, Gardner was given just 5 years jail time.

When 17 year-old Chelsea King disappeared outside her San Diego home last week, police say she was abducted and raped by Gardner. He later dumped her body nearby.

Though Gardner was forced to wear a GPS monitoring device until 2008, investigators believe he may have been involved in the disappearance of another teen and a 22 year-old-woman.

Jake Goldenflame spoke out as a convicted sex offender, "It's wishful thinking to believe that simply by locking someone up for a number of years that it's going to magically transform him when he comes out."

It's reminiscent of the Jaycee Dugard case in which, though Phillip Garrido was monitored for heinous sex crimes, Dugard went undetected for 18 years.

John Gardner will spend the rest of his life behind bars if convicted in the Chelsea King case.


Drug Testing: A New Ball Game

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It is estimated that substance abuse costs the US $276 billion a year
Lewis Maltby believes that drug testing is a waste of money. He claims it's doesn't make the workplace any safer. "The tests have many flaws, including job candidates' ability to clean themselves out."
State laws can vary regarding the legality of drug testing. Maltby says most states allow pre-employment drug screens, but others don't permit a reasonable-suspicion or random post-employment testing unless there has been an accident on the job.
Illicit drug users report that they would be far less likely to work for employers who conduct random drug testing when compared to those who do not use illicit drugs.
- National Survey on Drug Use and Health
Maltby isn't entirely wrong. That's why more companies are looking to hair tests as "cheat-proof" testing options. Hair tests are effective in detecting repetitive, habitual use in employees over a 90-day period of time.
And despite concerns about state regulation, drug testing doesn't appear to be going anywhere. More employers are choosing hair tests, and random drug testing is up to about 12% nationwide. That's up 2% in five years.


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