Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Friday, June 17, 2005

An ID for an ID Leaves Both Men Arrested

I love this story, it is just too amusing not to link, especially on a Friday.

When a 19-year-old Schaumburg man learned this spring who apparently had stolen his identity when he was 10 years old, he wanted to teach the man a lesson, police said.

But instead of trying to have his impersonator arrested, police said Brandon Canales broke the law getting back at him.

Now both men are charged with felony identity theft, police said Wednesday.

Canales, who for years had sought information about the identity thief, somehow found a link to Carpentersville in March, police said.

Canales called up banks in Carpentersville, where Augustin Ortega-Luna, 33, who had used Canales' identity for eight years, lives, asking if they had any accounts in Canales' name, said Carpentersville Police Detective Todd Shaver.

In late March he hit pay dirt at Amcore Bank, Shaver said. Canales transferred $8,000 into his own bank account from the Amcore account set up by Ortega-Luna using the false name, Shaver said.

"The victim was trying for retribution, and I understand his frustration," Shaver said, adding that it was theft nonetheless.

Soon after the funds transfer, Ortega-Luna, of the 300 block of Charles Street, showed up at the police station--claiming to be Canales--and reported that money had disappeared from his account, Shaver said.

Ortega-Luna eventually admitted to police that he had purchased Canales' identity about eight years ago because he was in the United States illegally and used it so he could get a job, Shaver said.

Although he had not stolen money outright from Canales, Ortega-Luna amassed debts of about $208,000 for purchases that included his house, a 2005 Toyota truck and 1990 Honda car, Shaver said.

umm, isn't racking up debt of over $200,000 effectively the same as stealing? Regardless, identity theft is a freaking nightmare, as this victim knows.

Canales could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But his foster father--Ken Chrobak of Schaumburg who was interviewed Wednesday at the home where Canales lived until recently--said Canales has been plagued for years by the identity theft.

When they tried to get Canales a Social Security card about three years ago, Chrobak said, they found that--at least according to government records--the teen had been working full time since age 11.

Chrobak said Canales has had trouble getting income-tax refunds, with the IRS balking at issuing a check because his Social Security number was coming up in separate records.

Now, did you follow all of that? From what I can gather, person A (Ortega-Luna; criminal) stole the identity of person B (Canales; victim). 8 years later B (the victim) finally cracks the case and figures out that A stole his identity. So he finds the bank where A (criminal) has an account under the vicitm's name. The victim-truthfully-identifies himself as Canales. The bank says, 'right, you are Canales, you have an account here.' Canales smiles and says 'Why yes, I do, please transfer $8,000 to this other account I have, thanks.'

Or something like that.

This doesn't really seem like fraud to me on Canales' part. He never told any lies, and $8,000 is hardly restitution for the headaches he must have experienced. Hey, you steal an indentity you run the risk of the person you stole it from impersonating themselves.

However, I have to declare, Best. Vigilante. Justice. Ever.

Happy Friday ;-)


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