Mother seeks justice for son – victim of illegal alien identity theft

During a sentencing hearing, Jennifer Andrushko, the mother of a five year oldidentity theft victim told the court of the difficulties she and her family had faced since learning of the theft of her son’s identity by an illegal alien, Lidia Aguirre, also known as Lidia Chavez.

Ms. Andrushko recommended that the perpetrator be given the same sentence that she would have received had she used the Social Security number of one of Ms. Aguirre’s American born children.

Ms. Aguirre had originally been charged with five, third degree felonies – three identity fraud and two forgery. She eventually pled guilty to three, third degree felonies – two identity fraud and one forgery.

In her statement to the court, Ms. Andrusko detailed the damage done to her son and her family by Ms. Aguirre who had used her son’s Social Security number for more than a decade. She described the countless hours she devoted to personally investigating her son’s case, trying to get law enforcement to do its job, and her disgust with the Social Security Administration which showed a total disregard for destruction of her child’s future.

Ms. Andrushko explained that she had first learned of the identity theft on November 16, 2009, when she went to Utah’s Department of Workforce Services to apply for aid after her husband lost his job. During the eligibility interview, she was informed that wages were being reported on the SSN of her three year old son.

After filing a police report, Ms. Andrushko realized that the Harrisville Police Department was not going to pursue the case. The Social Security Administration denied assistance and claimed not to have any record of wages on her son’s Social Security number.

For several weeks after learning of the identity theft, Ms. Adrushko spent most of her waking hours trying to find help for her son but was unable to get any assistance from law enforcement, from federal agencies or even from her Congressman. She eventually contacted her state Senator, Scott Jenkins, and his efforts resulted in Assistant Attorney General, Richard Hamp, who is an expert in employment related identity theft prosecutions, taking the case and pursuing it with vigor.

During the next three years she carried out her own investigation and kept in constant contact with Mr. Hamp. During that time she heard nothing from her local police department even though she added information to the police report that she had originally filed.

She explained that Ms. Aguirre used her son’s Social Security number for employment purposes, to obtain credit and even to get medical care. Ms. Andrushko told the court how hard it has been to determine the damage done to her son’s future and how after three years of constant effort, she has only scratched the surface.

It has even been more difficult to try to clean up the damage because the information is under Ms. Aguirre’s name but with Ms. Andrusko’s son’s Social Security number. Ms. Andrusko is considered to be a third party since she is not the victim and is constantly told that the five year old victim is the only one who can request and get information about activity on his Social Security number.

The court heard that Ms. Andrushko was exceptionally concerned that her son’s Social Security number had been used by a 38 year old, Hispanic female with a different blood type, different allergies and different medical conditions since this could lead to the corruption of her son’s medical records with life threatening consequences.

Ms. Andrusko described how she had contacted the three major credit reporting agencies. All three initially told her that no files existed for her son. She kept up the pressure and in March she was finally advised by TransUnion that there were indeed records linked to her son’s Social Security number in spite of earlier denials. She then contacted medical offices and others who had provided services to Ms. Aguirre while using her son’s Social Security number. (All denied any responsibility for the harm caused to her son.)

Mainly through her own efforts, Ms. Andrushko discovered that:

  • Her son’s Social Security number was used for employment purposes in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2009. (Her son was born in 2006 and even though the number had been used illegally for years, the Social Security Administration still assigned it to him. The fraudulent use of her son’s number resulted in three felony identity fraud charges and two felony forgery charges).
  • Her son’s record showed credit charges totaling $10,397 with Ms. Aguirre co-signing with her husband. This included an auto loan in 2006 of approximately $9000 and another in 1999 for pots and pans. (No charges have been brought for these felonies).
  • Medical care was obtained under her son’s number. This included collections totaling around $7000 and 11 accounts at various facilities of a local health care group plus care at an OB/GYN’s office and some pathology items. (No charges have been brought for these felonies).
  • A pathology bill was paid for by Medicaid which raises the question of whether Ms, Aguirre illegally received government benefits by using a fraudulently obtained Social Security number. (No charges have been brought for these possible felonies).
  • Ms. Aguirre had also used another fraudulently obtained Social Security number meaning that she has still committed more felonies and more importantly that there may be another identity theft victim. (No charges have been brought for these felonies).

Ms. Andrushko pointed out that Ms. Aguirre had seriously compromised if not destroyed her son’s future and that as his mother, she was doing everything possible to recover his good name and to avoid future problems.

She told the court that she fears that her son’s Social Security number will continue to be used if the perpetrator is released. She recommended that Ms. Aguirre be given the same sentence and held to the same accountability standard that she would be held to if the situation was reversed and if she had used the Social Security number of one of Ms. Aguirre’s American born children.

She also discussed her son’s understanding of what has happened to him and of his apprehension about being near Ms. Aguirre during her initial appearance since he knew that the police had been looking for her for a long time. The judge acknowledged seeing the victim, five year old Carter Andrushko, and his family in court every time action was taken in the case.

Ms. Andrushko said that she was genuinely sorry for what the Aguirre family is going through since Ms. Aguirre’s husband was recently arrested and jailed for a serious crime.

She emphasizes that she doesn’t wish Ms. Aguirre ill but that she does want her to understand that children, including her American born children, are prime targets for Social Security number only identity theft. In fact, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Ms. Aguirre’s children’s Social Security numbers are in the pool of numbers available on the street and that her children are the victims of illegal alien driven, job related identity theft.

Ms. Adrushko asked for a copy of the conviction or another document that would help her prove that legal action has been taken and that would help her recover her son’s good name and his future. She also asked for a list of everything Ms. Aguirre used her son’s stolen identity for no matter how trivial – dentist visits, cell phones, utilities, employment, even the purchase of a stick of gum, etc.

The judge inquired about getting a new Social Security number for the victim. Mr. Hamp explained that that would be just one more burden on the victim and that there was no guarantee that the new Social Security number would not be compromised.

Ms. Andrushko said that she had been told not to waste her time trying to get a new Social Security number issued since there had to be two years of constant abuse resulting in so much financial damage that the victim would never be able to recover. She reiterated the fact that her son had already been assigned a corrupted Social Security Number by the Social Security Administration and that she did not want to go through that again since the Social Security Administration continues to issue numbers that are being fraudulently used.

Due to the arrest of Ms. Aguirre’s husband, sentencing was deferred until September 24.

Illegal Aliens Get Billions in Tax Refunds

A bombshell report by Indianapolis television station WTHR-TV reveals that millions of illegal aliens are getting tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The scam is an infuriating combination of Orwellian law-making, tax-preparer complicity, IRS impotency, and Congressional gridlock, all of which result in billions of dollars of fraudulent payments being made to individuals claiming to support alleged family members in Mexico.

First, the law. In 1996, the U.S. Treasury introduced the Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), a nine-digit tax-processing number assigned by the IRS to individuals who are obligated to file a federal tax return, but lack or are ineligible for a Social Security Number (SSN), typically required to file taxes. Since tax law requires everyone who earns money in the United States to pay taxes – even those who are working here illegally – the ITIN was created to facilitate filing for illegals who can’t get an SSN. No doubt such a law was seen as pragmatic. If an illegal alien was willing to file a tax return, better to have a way for the individual to do it, than lose the revenue. In addition, an ITIN allows U.S. employers to meet withholding requirements.

Yet such a law is the epitome of political expediency. It is essentially an admission that law enforcement officials are powerless to stop illegals from entering the county and obtaining a job – and just as powerless when it comes to cracking down on the companies that hire them. Yet that is hardly the end of the expediency. While requirements for obtaining an ITIN ostensibly include submitting original, official documentation from one’s country of origin to the Austin, Texas, IRS processing center for validation, the IRS is allowing field offices to process the documents. The rationale? Applicants prefer having their documents returned after a brief interview, rather than risk losing them in the mail if they were forced to send them to Austin.

Yet Austin is where the IRS maintains a fraud unit whose document checking is reportedly rigorous. The genesis of the current scam is the fact that document checking becomes far less rigorous when the worker also decides to obtain ITINs for his children, nieces and nephews.

Why is this critical? Enter the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) which is “a refundable credit that can be claimed by taxpayers who are ineligible to claim the full non-refundable child tax credit, because it exceeds their total tax liability. The additional child tax credit was created to reimburse taxpayers for the non-refundable portion of their child tax credit.” In other words, the more legal dependents one can claim, the greater the refund one will receive from the IRS. Legal dependent is defined as a child who has been present in the filer’s household for over half the year.

Enter the scam. “We’ve seen sometimes 10 or 12 dependents, most times nieces and nephews, on these tax forms,” the tax preparer-turned-whistleblower told WTHR News. He then showed the WTHR reporter some examples. “Here’s a return right here: we’ve got a $10,300 refund for nine nieces and nephews,” he said. “We’re getting an $11,000 refund on this tax return. There’s seven nieces and nephews,” he added, pointing to another set of documents. “I can bring out stacks and stacks. It’s just so easy it’s ridiculous.”

The reporter then visited an illegal alien who took part in the scam. He admitted his home was being used by four other “undocumented workers” who don’t live there. Combined they claimed 20 dependent children were living inside one trailer home in Indiana. Their combined tax refund? $29,608. The man also admitted that the 20 children were living in Mexico and hadnever lived in the house. The rationale behind he and the other men taking the ill-gotten gains? “If the opportunity is there and they can give it to them, why not take advantage of it,” he contended.

Unfortunately, he has a point. The same whistleblower reported dozens of cases of fraud to the IRS. “These were fraudulent, 100 percent fraudulent tax returns, but I got no response; absolutely none. We never heard a thing,” he said. “To me, it’s clear the IRS is letting this happen.” A Northern California IRS field-office worker who viewed the report echoed that sentiment. “The fraud has been going on for years,” he told WND. “Business as usual.”

The worker also explained the tax-preparer element of the deception, contending that Spanish language tax-preparers who educate their clients about how much more money they can get back if they increase the number of dependents on their tax forms are “the enablers and catalyst of this fraud.” They get their clients a greater return, which builds good will and repeat business, while taxpayers get soaked. Equally disturbing, word of mouth virtually guarantees even greater abuse next year. Abuse in which WTHR News’ purported whistleblower continues engage himself, and likely explains why he refused to allow himself to be identified on camera. Perhaps whistleblower/fraud facilitator would be a far more accurate description.

U.S. Treasury Secretary General Russell George offered his own take on the issue. “The magnitude of the problem has grown exponentially,” he said, further revealing that his agency has also told the IRS – repeatedly – of the abuse. Audit reports buttress that claim, and one issued in 2011 by the Inspector General (IG) illuminates the trajectory: in 2005, the IRS paid out $924 million on ACTC claims. Currently that number has mushroomed to $4.2 billion per year. The increase is attributable to expansions of the ATCT resulting from both the 2001 Bush tax cuts and The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, aka the stimulus package. Prior to 2001, tax filers needed three or more children to qualify for ACTC, along with owing more Social Security taxes than earned income credits. Both of those requirements were eliminated, making refunds much easier to get.

The report also reveals a stunning level of bureaucratic naivete regarding such moves. “The payment of federal funds through this tax benefit appears to provide an additional incentive for aliens to enter, reside, and work in the United States without authorization, which contradicts federal law and policy to remove such incentives,” it reads. Thus, as it is with so many government efforts, the triumph of ill-conceived “good intentions” remains the status quo even as the destructiveness of actual results is revealed.

Unsurprisingly, the IRS disputed the findings. “Any suggestion that the IRS shouldn’t be paying out these credits under current law to ITIN holders is simply incorrect,” IRS spokesperson Michelle Eldridge told The Fiscal Times in a statement. “The IRS administers the law impartially and applies it as written. If the law were changed, the IRS would change its programs accordingly.” According to the Washington Post, the IRS claims they have “no legal authority to demand that filers prove their legal status when the tax agency processes returns.”

Which brings us to Congress and all the attendant immigration politics attached to the issue. After the 2011 IG report was issued, Republicans in Congress attempted to address the problem. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) introduced HR 1956: Refundable Child Tax Credit Eligibility Verification Reform Act. The bill would require individuals to produce a Social Security number in order to claim “the refundable portion of their child tax credit.” As of May 10th, the bill had 60 co-sponsors. A similar provision was put before the House Ways and Means Committee on April 18, where it was approved in 22-12 vote, with every Republican voting in favor, and every Democrat voting against it. Hence, the gridlock part of the equation.

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) encapsulated the progressive opposition. “The benefits go to the United States citizen children,” he contended. “My God! Listen!…the question must be raised, where is our concern? Where is our compassion? Where is our heart? Where is our soul?” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) contended the measure would save only “a very small amount of money” compared with the entire federal budget. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) piled on as well. “I just think the child tax credit is working just fine and there’s no need to punish children.”

In other words, as long as it’s “for the children” — the majority of whom, despite Mr. Lewis’ erroneous contention, live in Mexico – ripping off taxpayers for $4.2 billion is a reasonable tradeoff.

The IRS is also enchanted by progressive politics regarding the issue. “I think you actually have a lot of people in this country who pay taxes who aren’t here legally,” said IRS Comissioner Douglas Shulman at a National Press Club meeting on April 5th. “[They] file returns so they can show a track record of being good citizens… The people who are being good members of society, the people who do that, obviously, are contributing to the national defense, they’re contributing to our roads, they’re contributing to our schools, and that’s just what we want. And so we try to run the system in a really fair way that allows everybody to pay taxes who needs to pay taxes,” he added. Translation: if you pay taxes, citizenship or lack thereof is irrelevant.

That’s utter nonsense. In 2006, Deputy Social Security Commissioner James Lockhart testified that, in 2003 alone, 8.8 million W-2 forms had been filed with non-matching Social Security Numbers and names. Subsequent investigation by the government could not attribute the W-2 to a known taxpayer. The IRS’s response? They claim the Internal Revenue Code does not allow the Social Security Administration to inform the Department of Homeland Security about employers filing W-2s with non-matching Social Security Numbers and names. In other words, if the IRS doesn’t look for a problem, no problem exists.

More leftist rationale for wholesale law-breaking? “Undocumented immigrants are undoubtedly positive for the fiscal health of this country,” says Leticia Miranda, associate director of the Economic Policy Project at National Council of La Raza, who adds that the fraud is offset by the fact that illegals pay Social Security taxes they can’t collect. 8.8 million “non-matching” SSNs and names in one year alone suggests otherwise. So does identity theft as revealed by the Social Security Administration Actuary. Those estimates show that 75 percent of illegal immigrants obtain and use a fraudulent Social Security number.

Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group which advocates securing U.S. borders, cuts through the nonsense. “The IRS doesn’t seem to think its job is to make sure people who are claiming these credits are entitled to them,” he says. “The children may or may not be living abroad – or even exist. It’s absurd, almost a joke.”

Unfortunately the joke is on the American taxpayer. And despite the large number of Americans who will be angered by abuse documented here, it is virtually certain that greater public awareness of this issue comes with a price: the more people who know about this scam, the greater the number of people willing to partake in it — enabled by a see-no-evil IRS, feckless congressional Democrats, and a phalanx of open border advocates determined to convince Americans that national sovereignty and xenophobia are interchangeable terms, and that political expediency is a viable substitute for the rule of law.

Bill Would Close Illegal Immigrant Loophole

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions says that legislation he will endorse would close a loophole in the federal tax law that allows illegal immigrants to claim certain tax credits.

People who work but don’t have a valid Social Security number receive an Individual Tax Identification Number because their income is still taxed. And they can use that number to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit, which is meant for lower-income working families.

Sessions, an Alabama Republican, said Tuesday that he will back a bill from Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, to require recipients of the additional child tax credit to have a valid Social Security number.