Craziest Identity Theft Ever

June 21st, 2015  / Author: john

I  guess it’s about that time……I get the question a lot. “So, What happened with your lawsuit?” I’ve  been staying pretty quiet about it. But here goes.

I never even got my day in court. You see, I have learned the hard way. What we call the justice system, or the judicial system, is nothing more than the legal system. What I mean by that is that if attorneys with unlimited funds can find ways to expose legal loopholes and work the system, the everyday man(AKA the little guy) has no chance. There is NO JUSTICE!

I know many of you know my story. How crazy it is. You may be a friend, an acquaintance, family, etc. Maybe you stumbled across my story doing research on Identity Theft or Criminal Identity Theft. Maybe you have read an article, heard about me on the radio, seen my story on your local news. Maybe you have helped me along the way or at least sympathized. Maybe you yourself have used my situation for your own financial gain (there are a few of you). Or maybe this is the first you’ve heard of me. For the latter, I will give you a quick bullet-pointed version of what I have been through and you can fill in the blanks by visiting and reading some of my previous articles.

  • In 1991 I was arrested in El Paso, Tx.(my hometown) for trespassing. It was a misdemeanor charge that was dismissed, but I was booked and entered into the system nonetheless. Soon after, I joined the USNAVY where I served until I was released on a medical discharge. 40% disability.
  • In 1997 I had moved back home. I had landed a great job, actually my dream job at that time, managing a few bars for a casino. But was pretty much immediately released because my background check had shown that I was currently incarcerated for a robbery. I was perplexed at the least, but went to the El Paso Police Headquarters to figure it all out. Unfortunately, the policy at the casino was that I had to wait 6 months to re-apply, so thatjob was out for the time being. But I still needed to clear this up.
  • It was Dec. 1st of 97. At the precinct I was fingerprinted to prove my Identity, then it was explained to me that yes they did have someone currently incarcerated under my name. The officer in charge of examining fingerprints(Officer Chavez) then told me that this person had used my ID upon arrest, showed me a picture of the person incarcerated under my name, and asked if I knew him. I did recognize his face, so I made some phone calls right there at the desk and was able to identify the man as Jason Newton. It was verified that it was him, I was assured that the changes had been made in the system, given paperwork(which I still have). And was sent on my way. Hey mistakes happen. Yes I had lost a great career opportunity, but that’s life. Maybe it just wasn’t where God wanted me?
  • So, then my life just turned very unlucky. I was jobless. I couldn’t seem to find a job anywhere. I had tons of experience. I was a disabled veteran. Very smart. But within months my car had been repossessed, I had given up in El Paso, I had moved back to Virginia Beach where I had been stationed in the Navy, and by mid January I was living on the streets. Eventually, due to a fortunate turn of events, I got a horrible job at a dangerous night club, and moved on up to a flea-bag hotel in Norfolk,Va. From there things got a little better. A co-worker, Joe Sullivan, who is still my best friend, offered me a spare room at his house to help get me off the streets.I kept tending bars all over the area, and eventually got an apartment,then bought a house and made halfway decent money for a young single guy.
  • Eventually I even got married and had a beautiful baby girl in 2004. But I realized that tending bar in neighborhood dives was not the answer for a father with real responsibilities. So, I took advantage of my Veteran disability rating. Took the test to work for the Postal Service, got a really high score, and was hired on my first interview, to be a carrier in Suffolk,Va. We were so happy and felt blessed. I put my house up for sale in Virginia Beach and was looking for houses in Suffolk. That’s when the proverbial poop once again hit the fan. My offer for employment was recanted based on my background check. So once again I was jobless, and already had a contract to sell my home. I was not told what my Criminal Background Check (CBC) said, but it was bad enough. I kind of just assumed it was over my arrest in 1991. Boy was I wrong.
  • It took awhile to find out what was really up. I think it was actually Domino’s pizza that told me what was on my background report. Yes I had gotten desperate enough to deliver pizzas as a career, still tending bar part-time. Believe it or not, not only had my record never been fixed in El Paso, but it had gotten worse. I now had 7 felonies on my record, 4 warrants for my arrest, AND I was showing up as serving a life sentence for Capitol Murder. What the fudge? Thats when life really changed. That’s when a lot of misfortunes started to make sense.
  • Then my quest started. The quest to clear my name. It was harder than I even imagined. I contacted EPPD many times. There was absolutely no proof to my story. Nobody believed me, nobody believed that this could happen. I was called a liar. No paperwork had ever been filed on my behalf. I had to once again submit prints. I was told eventually that this guy had used my ID upon arrest. I was given more paperwork attesting to this. But was told that it was all they could do.
  • To make matters worse: A former employer (Kathy Halzack) found out about my situation and took advantage.She spread the word, knowing the truth, to further mess up my chances of employment. You see, in Virginia you can not serve alcohol if you have a felony record. I think she warned every restaurant/bar in the area. I would’ve sued her, but because these crimes were on my CBC, she was actually telling the truth and doing a public service by spreading lies. That’s the kind of position I was in.
  • Over the next two years I spent all of my free time trying to fix my record. Nobody would help. I was told to stop calling them, I was told to stop blaming them for my misfortune by Ms. Gloria Daniels in the records department in El Paso. She explained that this stuff happens all of the time, mostly between family members, and what made me so special as to expect  them to do anything to help me. Heck, when I told her I was in college working on my degree in Early Childhood Education, she actually laughed and said, “You’ll never  get a job in that field with your record.”
  • I called everyone…..attorneys, identity theft advocates, Texas DPS, the FBI, victims groups, civil rights groups, etc.etc. I sent emails, posted youtube videos, wrote letters, my congressman, senator, VA groups, everyone. Nobody could help. My record was sooooo messed up and in such a way that nobody knew what to do. I did make some really good connections though, that all helped in their own rite. I fell into a deep depression. I found out that I wasn’t even legally allowed to vote, or to bear arms.
  • I was even advised by an officer in the records department, that the best way to clear things up, was to come to El Paso and turn myself in for the warrants. Then I would be able to explain the situation in court. The catch? Once I turned myself in, I would have to wait until my court date. And since I was a Virginia resident, and these charges were all felonies. I would be considered a flight risk, would probably have a really high bail (if any) and would have to stay in jail until my court date. Which could be anywhere from 30-90 days barring any continuances or postponements. That option was not even considered  Idiots.
  • One day, finally in 2007, I was contacted by a Mr. Brian Falco from the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego California. He had heard about my situation somewhere, maybe a family member. He wanted to help. And help he did. While I was at work, delivering pizzas, he was on the phones in my behalf. He was tenacious and would not take NO for an answer. Between him and Ms. Paula Pierce from the Identity Theft department of Texas DPS, they were able to pressure the City of El Paso into exponging my record. Kind of. In Feb. of 2008. And they dropped the warrants for my arrest.
  • But then, they wouldn’t send me the case file. For some reason they were being very evasive about me seeing all the documentation. Here’s how sneaky they were……. On Dec. 22 of 2008 I got a letter from the Records dept. stating that I had 30 days to come pick up my documentation,. The funny thing, it stated that I had 30 days from the day that the letter was written and signed, which was Dec. 4th. It was mailed on Dec. 19th, I received on the 22nd, and they were out on Christmas vacation from the 21st until the 3rd of January. It was scheduled to be destroyed on that day. Luckily I got Miss Paula Pierce from DPS and Ms. Veronica Hansen from a Victims Advocacy group in Texas to get ahead of that, at the very last minute. They told the records dept. not only to not destroy but that they were legally obligated to send these clearance letters and total case file to me and they reluctantly did so.
  • It took a couple of weeks to receive, I had to jump through some legal hoops, but I finally got the complete case file. As I was going through the documents, arrest sheets, AFIS cards (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) used by the FBI, fingerprint cards, etc.. with Mr. Brian Falco, we were able to put together what had really happened here, why they were being so evasive, and why they were so reluctant to be truthful.
  • So here’s what had really happened, all proven by their own documents that I still possess. A: I had been told that Mr. Newton had used my ID when arrested in 1997. But according to the arrest sheet the DL number on that document was curiously the same DL number on my  arrest sheet in 1991. But that DL had been surrendered in Oct. of 1991 in Rison Ar. when I got an Arkansas Drivers License. So that was not possible. B: The arrest sheet states that the fingerprints had been verified through the FBI and DPS, absolutely not true because Mr. Newton had a prior record and was actually at that time a fugitive wanted for a murder charge in Plano,Tx. Here’s how ridiculous it was, the arrest sheet had his picture and fingerprints but all of my stats. My height, my weight, my date of birth, my eye color, my SSN, my scars, my hair color, etc.Which is crazy because Mr. Newton was 6 years younger than me, had different colored eyes, 6 inches taller than me, outweighed me by over 50 lbs.,different colored hair, different tattoos and scars. But there it was, my info/his pic. But nobody seemed to notice? REALLY? It was more than obvious, they had transferred all of my informatio from my arrest in 1991 to this guy’s arrest sheet in 1997. AND, when he was released, after pleading guilty under my name, he was given copies of these documents upon release. The EPPD essentially gave him all of my personal information. To boot, I had come in and identified him while he was incarcerated and had been told that it had been corrected. Apparently it never went farther than Officer Chavez’s desk.
  • With this newly obtained information, Mr. Newton was basically given a license to go on a crime spree. He was in the system as me. Even his fingerprints were now confused as mine. And he did, racking up 3 more felonies in the next couple of months. The funny thing, upon his next arrest he missed my SSN by one number and mis-spelt my middle name. All unnoticed.

So, this is what started the snowball that eventually became my avalanche. The EPPD even sent an AFIS card to the FBI to update the NCIC criminal data-base. My stats, his pic, his prints. Here’s the tricky part to that……The FBI will not fix my record in NCIC. They can’t even discuss it with me because my fingerprints do not match their records. So if my background check is pulled by my name, date of birth, and SSN all of these crimes still pop up. Even with an expungement,(Generally, expungement is the process to “remove from general review” the records pertaining to a case. In many jurisdictions, however, the records may not completely “disappear” and may still be available to law enforcement, to sentencing judges on subsequent offenses, and to corrections facilities to which the individual may be sentenced on subsequent convictions) per wikipedia. Are you kidding me? The EPPD screwed this up soooooooo bad that it can never be fully corrected. NEVER!!!!!

So I did what anyone else would do. I started to pitch a fit. I started off nicely. Writing a letter to the Mayor of El Paso at that time, John Cook, expressing that I thought that I deserved some sort of compensation for my troubles. I got a reply from the City Attorney Mrs. Karla Nieman stating that she would check into it, and even though I gave her all of the requested information and sent many emails requesting an update, I never heard from her again. I decided to sue. What other option did I have?

It took a while to find an attorney to take my case. Many obstacles: Case was in Texas but I lived in Virginia, there were no other cases like mine for attorneys to use as a reference, it is apparently taboo for attorneys to sue municipalities, and I didn’t have the money to fund the lawsuit, after all I was just a pizza delivery boy with a family to support. But, after begging hundreds of attorneys to take my case, spending hundreds of hours on that, I got a break. A professor at Regent Law University forwarded my case to every attorney that he had in his data-base, and finally Mr. Stephen Casey from Round Rock,Tx. accepted the challenge.

We started nicely. We sent a settlement demand letter in early 2010. It was eventually presented at an El Paso City Council meeting. They voted to deny all accusations, really? The vote, out of 8 city council members was 4-2 to deny, with one member abstaining from the vote and another had left early for his kids sporting event. Ridiculous! So we sued in State court to the tune of 7.5 million. That case was eventually dismissed without prejudice, stating that we needed to sue in Federal court. So we did. Then the first time we sued in Federal Court, it was once again dismissed without prejudice, stating that there was something wrong with the “language” of the complaint. So then we got that all straightened out and notified the City of El Paso that we would be raising suit again. In this case, the City Attorney at this time, Charlie Mc Nabb, implored us to let him once again bring this up before City Council. It was postponed a couple of times, but eventually was voted upon. This time behind closed doors. The result was to once again deny all claims. We do not know the vote count or what was said in this meeting. So we sued in Federal court. I don’t give up easily. What’s right is right.

This lawsuit went back and forth with paperwork and filings. All I really wanted was to get my day in court, a jury trial, but they were blocking that from happening any way that they could. But throughout the lawsuit, they did concede a couple of things. We agreed upon the fact that I could not have known their culpability until Feb. of 2009. They did admit, not apologize, that all of this did happen and that it was their fault. Heck, at one time I even won the lawsuit by summary judgment when they missed a deadline to file response to our accusations, but that was overturned when they got some secretary or clerk to submit a signed affidavit saying that the reason the deadline was missed was her fault for entering the deadline wrong on the attorneys agenda. OK. Then they started arguing petty stuff like……even though it was city employees who had entered all of this fraudulent information, that we should be suing the County of El Paso instead of the city because the info was signed and written on County documentation. Also because, my third filing of the lawsuit, my third filing, was over 2 years from discovery date. It was past the statute of limitations. Guess what? The judge agreed. What? Case dismissed. So we appealed in Federal appeals court, judge agreed then too.

This is crazy. They admit it’s their fault. They admit it. Yet I never even got my day in court over a loophole/ legal technicality? I refuse to accept that. Loss of constitutional rights? Loss of income potential? Destruction of my resume? Slander? Libel? Mental anguish? Depression? Financial problems? None of that matters? For a Desert Storm disabled veteran? REALLY?

This story is so ridiculous that I’ve heard it told by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck all to advertise for Lifelock. What do I get? You guessed it. I’ve seen Internet Marketers use my story to promote Identity Theft protection products. I’ve seen Identity Theft recovery non-profits use my story for public awareness. You know what? I don’t even mind, if it will save others from becoming like me.

Look, I’m welcome to suggestions. I’ve had a few already. Go on a media tour? Nobody seems that interested, oddly enough. I’ve sent my story to everyone from Montel to 20/20. Embarrass the City of El Paso into doing the right thing and paying me off? Nice thought, but they seem to have no shame or sense of right. But I will say that my next article will include all names and badge numbers of everyone that even touched this case. I don’t care anymore, and I have all of that information. Start a “fund me” page? Look, I’m pretty sure that it would pay off pretty well, and eventually I might have to go that route, but I hate the thought of receiving charity, especially when this responsibility falls on the City of El Paso, Tx. Why would I expect the general public to come out of their pockets? Maybe you think I should just shut up and stop whining? That’s fine put those suggestions in my comment box too. Some people say to write a book. I’m not much of a writer, obviously, and don’t have the time to embark on a novel. I’ve neglected my family enough spending time on this, plus I work 50+  hours per week just trying to make ends meet. Any ghost writers out there?

So, here’s my deal for the time being. I’m trying to make lemonade out of lemons here. I don’t wish this kind of hell on anybody. I truly believe, in this day and age, that we all need help monitoring our own identity. It sucks, but its a sad truth. I have been able to work out a deal with Lifelock, where I use my story to basically refer people to them and I get a small commission. I myself am a Lifelock member and love the peace of mind it provides. I even get alerts to my smartphone when suspicious charges hit my bank account. Lifelock is the best in the industry, and I have no problem suggesting them to anybody. Plus, they let me offer 30 days free and a 10% discount on my website. Pretty sweet. So in this case, you can help me by helping yourself. Pretty fair right? How else can you help? By sharing my story on social media, by email, by phone. Encourage other to like my Good Name Gone Facebook page,  where I will do my best to keep everyone updated on tips to protect their identity and of new security breaches. AND if you have any suggestions, comments, or know anyone who might be able to help me whether by media or by legal help please let me know. I’m stuck and kind of up against a brick wall here.

Also, if you don’t understand how this can happen. Or you think that maybe you can help explain it to me….Please feel free to contact me at , comment in the comments section, or hit me up on facebook at “good name gone” or John Shelby.

For all other questions please direct them to:

El Paso Mayor: Oscar Leeser    915-212-0021

Chief of Police: Greg Allen-

But I can pretty much guarantee a “NO COMMENT”.

The more calls they get, the more emails,etc. The more pressure they get to “MAKE ME WHOLE”. Thank you all.

Identity Theft Checklist

May 6th, 2014  / Author: john


Did you know? As much as 20% of all adults in America fell victim to some sort of Identity Theft in 2013? That is insane. That is 1 in 5. That means that unless you are a total recluse, you know somebody that has fallen victim to some sort of Identity Theft, or even a few people. You might have even been a victim yourself. Look, I know what you are thinking. It would never happen to you, RIGHT? Don’t be so sure. I was a victim for over 6 years before I even knew it. NO JOKE!! And to top it all off, mine was Criminal Identity Theft, the kind where someone else’s crimes end up on your Criminal Background Check. Yep, 7 felonies including Capitol Murder. Over 5000 hours spent trying to clear my name and to be honest with you, even though I have taken all of the necessary steps, some of the crimes still show up on my Criminal Background Check. But enough about me, if you are really that interested my story is all over the internet and all over this website. Just search “John Shelby Identity Theft”.

Do you still think that you are safe? Or are you starting to wonder? Well, here’s a little checklist to know if your Identity is at risk of being stolen or compromised:


1. Do you ever bank online?

2. Are you prior military with a VA file?

3. Are you on any form of social media?

4. Have any of your email accounts ever been “hacked”?

5. Have you ever lost or mis-placed your smart-phone, laptop, or other mobile device?

6. Did you shop at Target or Nordstrom’s this last holiday season?

7. Have you ever received a letter from your bank, hospital, or anyone else notifying you of a security breach? (if you have, 1 in 4 of the recipients of that letter were victims)

8. Have you ever been arrested for any reason? That’s how they got me, and my case was dismissed without even having to go to court.

9. Shop online?

10. Ever lost your wallet or checkbook?

11. Ever left your mail in the mailbox overnight? Or even for a weekend retreat? CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

I would bet that you answered “YES” to at least 1-3 of these. If that is the case, then your identity is at risk. It’s not your fault really. These Identity Thieves are tricky and it really is virtually undefendable. But it sure is a lot of heartache for the victims. The time you have to put in just to fix your credit or reputation is crazy. The average is somewhere around 300 hours of leg-work. And it is so frustrating.

That is why Identity Monitoring services are popping up everywhere. It has become a big business, but a necessary one, unfortunately.

If you know me or more story, then you know that I have been on a mission to warn others and make people aware of Identity Theft and its effects. For many years it ruined my life. Homelessness, depression, embarrassment, struggles upon struggles. So, I have teamed up with the industry leader LifeLock, and I am proud to say that I have. Oh, I did my research. Admittedly, LifeLock can not protect you from all Identity Theft, but they will catch it early if it happens to you. On top of that, they will do all of the leg-work for you to clear matters up. They have a team of attorneys that specialize in Identity Theft protection and repair, all at your disposal.

And guess what? Today, through this website right here, I am able to offer you a FREE trial for 30 days of LifeLock protection AND 10% off a yearly contract. So basically by clicking this banner below: You get peace of mind about your identity and your assets for about the price of two beers a month. And I get the satisfaction of knowing that I have helped one more person avoid the nightmare that I have been through, and that feels pretty darn good.

Background Checks Cause Problems For Employment

September 22nd, 2011  / Author: john

It does happen:

You go in for a job interview. You feel like you nailed it. Then you get the call (if you’re lucky) letting you know that your background check showed something shocking. They don’t know what to believe, they go with someone else. Then you get to start on that horrendous journey of clearing your name.

And this is all best case scenario. More often than not you do not get the call. Human resource professionals are going to believe what they see on this “official” background check. They are more than likely never going to contact you again after seeing that document. You go on knowing nothing about what is being reported on you Criminal Background Check, having no opportunity to explain yourself or begin fixing it. As I have said before in previous posts, it took me 6 years to find out, a few more to correct the problem by getting an expuncture, and a few years later I just turned up “dirty” on another background check.

Identity Theft of this nature is no joke, and it just blind-sides you. You can’t find out through your bank account or credit score. You are more than likely not going to run a Criminal Background Check on yourself. People that do know are probably not going to tell you, but they will probably tell others. In my case there was nothing that I could have done to prevent it, but in most cases it can be prevented. For great prevention tips click here

Because of my own experience, I am happy to endorse LifeLock. In turn, LifeLock has allowed me to offer a 10% discount to anyone that I refer to them. All you have to do is click on the Lifelock banner at the bottom of this page. I assure you, even though it might be a little too late for me, I now have my whole family enrolled in Lifelock. I recommend it to all of my friends. They have packages starting at as little as $10.00 a month. Do your own research, but please protect yourself, you can’t afford not to.

“Relentlessly Protecting Your Identity”

Do you think that Identity Theft really stinks?

Like us on facebook…

Thank you NBC San Diego for doing such a great job with this important report.

P.S. Do I really look that old?

Identity Theft… Are you a victim? Are you sure?

June 24th, 2011  / Author: john

Are you a victim of Identity Theft?



That’s how long I was a victim and did not even know it. Oh, I had been notified only a few months after it had originally happened….

By being fired from my job!

I went through all of the steps that I knew of to get it cleared up. Was told my record was cleared, even given documentation. Little did I know that not only had my record not been cleared, but it had gotten worse.

Hi, My name is John Shelby.

If you have done any research into the world of Identity Theft or to be more specific “Criminal Identity Theft”, then you have probably come across my story. If you listen to talk radio, I am the “Mr. X” that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck refer to in their commercials. If not, here are a few glimpses into my personal nightmare…..

Six whole years went by without me even knowing. I knew that I had trouble finding a decent job. I knew that in the darkest of times, I was living on the streets. I knew that I felt like a failure. I knew that there was a dark cloud following me around. I really thought that God was punishing me for something.

What I didn’t know is that my Criminal Background Check was showing that I had been convicted of multiple felonies. Robbery, possession of a stolen vehicle, evading police, participation in organized criminal activity, and last but not least Capital Murder. What I didn’t know was that there were warrants out for my arrest. What I didn’t know was that there was a logical explanation for all of my misfortune.

I finally found out when a perspective employer said to me, ” We would love to hire you, but do you have any idea what is on your background check?” Unfortunately, that was just the beginning. It took another 5+ years of diligently pursuing the issue to get my record finally exponged. I had to get all kinds of people involved. Politicians, Identity Theft Experts, Attorneys, Victims Advocates, you name it. It totally consumed my life, don’t believe me, ask my wife. In the mean time, I was only able to get employment with jobs that did not do background checks. Mostly restaurant work, however I was  not able to accept offers of management positions due to mandatory background checks.

This was all due to someone using my name upon arrest. He did not even have Identification supporting his lies. They just took his word for it. That’s how easy it was.

You think that it couldn’t happen to you? I’m sorry to say that it can. I am not the only one. Through this journey, I have been able to meet and converse with more than a few people in similar situations. None of them knew until it was too late to do anything about it. Most of them are still fighting the system, just trying to get their records cleared. This does not even touch all of the victims of Financial Identity Theft that I hear about or talk to on a daily basis.

I would be willing to bet that you know someone that has been a victim of some type of Identity Theft or another. If you talk to your friends or co-workers, I bet that they have an Identity Theft story that happened to them or an acquaintance as well. Do you still think that it can’t happen to you?

I wouldn’t wish my nightmare upon you. Heck, I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. In this day and age, we all need to monitor our Identity. So I went on a quest to find the best Identity Monitoring system. I contacted them all. I presented my particular scenario, and asked,” Could you prevent that?” The answer was always “No, I’m sorry.” or I would just keep getting transferred to the next person, or blown off completely.

Finally, I contacted LifeLock. By this time I was pretty sure that there was no so-called “Identity Theft Protection” service that could be trusted. Their answer was also, “No, we could not protect from that.” I was about to hang up, assured that they were all frauds when he said,”BUT, we would have immediately known that it did happen. We would have had our attorney’s go to bat for you. We would have saved you 6 years of not knowing, and another6 years of fighting the system.” From there we talked and talked. Their system was explained to me in full. They are for real.

The only problem is, they can’t help you if you are not a member.

Because of my own experience, I am happy to endorse LifeLock. In turn, LifeLock has allowed me to offer a 10% discount to anyone that I refer to them. All you have to do is click on the Lifelock banner at the bottom of this page. I assure you, even though it might be a little too late for me, I now have my whole family enrolled in Lifelock. I recommend it to all of my friends. They have packages starting at as little as $10.00 a month. Do your own research, but please protect yourself, you can’t afford not to.

>Do you think that Identity Theft really stinks?

Like us on facebook…

Avoid identity theft

March 29th, 2011  / Author: john

Avoid Identity Theft

1. Keep personal info such as SSN, Birth Certificate, and any other identifiers in a safe place. AND only give this information when necessary.
2. Ladies, guard your purse with your life…Gentlemen, while in congested areas such as busy downtown areas, malls, airports, and bus stations, keep wallet in a front pocket. Back pockets are way easier to pick.
3. Only carry checkbook when necessary.
4. Check credit card and bank statements for purchases that are not yours.
5. If you no longer use a Credit Card…..close the account and destroy it.
6. Shred, Shred, Shred. Do not just throw away bills and C.C. offers. These thieves are crafty and are not above digging in your trash.
7. Before revealing any identifying information, ask how it will be used. Make sure that your information ca not be shared.
8. Monitor your credit scores at least yearly. Also, get a Criminal Background Check on yourself.
9. On the internet…Use complex passwords. Never your name or name of close relatives (even your dog). And for the love of God, please do not use “password” as your password.
10. Use a locked mailbox or a post office box to send/receive mail.
11. Enroll in some sort of Identity Protection service. I now use Life Lock, trust me I have done the research. Their bad rep is not so deserved. While they may not have been able to prevent my situation….they would have caught it way earlier than I did and would have helped me clear it up a lot sooner, at no expense.

Help Protect Yourself From ID Theft. Get help with LifeLock.

Important numbers:

Credit bureaus:
Equifax 1-800 525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW) 1-800-301-7195
Trans Union 1-800-680-7289

Chesapeake man sues in 13-year fight to clear his name

March 5th, 2011  / Author: john

By Matthew Bowers
The Virginian-Pilot
© February 26, 2011


John Shelby thought his new bosses at an El Paso, Texas, casino were playing around when they withdrew their job offer for him to manage three of their bars.

They weren’t.

A background check showed he was a felon, and he was supposed to be in the city jail. Right then.

“I made a joke about it,” Shelby said. ” ‘Yeah, I escape every morning to come to work.’ Because I thought they were joking.”

It’s no joke to Shelby now, after more than a decade of losing or being passed over for jobs, which Shelby said forced him to live on the streets for a while.

“I had no idea what was in store for me,” said Shelby, who lives in Chesapeake.

Shelby claims police in El Paso negligently linked his name to someone else’s criminal record in 1997 when that man gave Shelby’s name as his own.

That record pops up when prospective employers run background checks on Shelby, limiting or killing his chances at securing a job.

And that, Shelby argues, violates his civil rights by invading his privacy and ruining his ability to make a living.

More than 13 years after he lost the casino job, Shelby has a $7.5 million federal lawsuit pending against the city of El Paso. At an initial hearing in Texas on Friday, a judge allowed the case to continue and ordered the parties to develop a trial schedule, said Stephen Casey, Shelby’s Austin, Texas-based lawyer and Regent University law graduate.

Shelby didn’t know it, but his ordeal began in 1991 when, at 19, he was arrested on a charge of trespassing at his old high school, according to interviews with Shelby and Casey, court filings and other documents.

Shelby said he was there to pick up a student friend. The school district dropped the charge.

Shelby went on a stint in the Navy, and jobs such as delivery driver and bartender.

Things changed for him when the casino job came – and quickly went – in late 1997.

He learned that earlier that year, police arrested the man who gave Shelby’s name. The man had heard of Shelby through a family both knew.

Shelby and his lawyer say police added Shelby’s personal information, including Social Security and driver’s license numbers, from his 1991 file despite obvious differences in height, weight and age. They also claim in the suit that police didn’t compare fingerprints.

The man is serving a life sentence in Texas for aggravated robbery and engaging in organized criminal activity, according to Texas Department of Criminal Justice data online.

After Shelby lost the casino job, police at first told him the problem was “cleared up ” and gave him a letter stating so.

But the erroneous record lived on in various databases that background-check companies use. Shelby’s name remained listed as an alias for the other man.

Jobs became elusive. He’d get passed over and not know why. The Postal Service hired him as a carrier in Suffolk and then, according to his suit, a supervisor fired him for “dishonesty” because of his record check. Shelby had already begun orientation; instead, Shelby said, he became homeless.

Repeated calls to El Paso authorities proved fruitless, although they expunged his 1991 arrest record by January 2008. He also called elected officials. He started a website,

Meanwhile, he obtained entry-level jobs, but the record thwarted promotions. He gave up his dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher. He hasn’t tried to vote, having been told the felonies on the record would forestall registration.

An El Paso police officer’s “fervent desire to ‘ fill in the blanks’ ” on an arrest report did far-reaching damage, Casey, the lawyer, wrote to El Paso officials in a September 2010 letter seeking a settlement.

“You’ve got this bell that’s been rung by the city of El Paso and it can’t be un-rung,” Casey said in an interview. “All they can do is clean up the mess.”

An El Paso police spokesman and a city spokeswoman said they couldn’t talk about Shelby’s situation because of the pending suit.

Brian Falco of San Diego previously worked with an organization that combated identity theft, and Falco has continued trying to help Shelby. He called Shelby’s situation unusual; solving such problems takes time and money, making them low priorities for busy law-enforcement officials, he said.

“Ever deal with a bureaucracy?” he asked in an interview. “If you’re wrongly installed in there, it takes an act of God to get it out of there…. Because some paperwork is messed up, you shouldn’t not be able to get a decent job.”

At age 39, Shelby delivers pizzas because that’s one of the few jobs he can land without a background check.

He hasn’t been able to save for retirement or college for his two young children. He and his wife, a saleswoman, have no health insurance. Finances are so tight, in fact, they’re moving today to Florida because they no longer can afford their Greenbrier home.

“I’ve had my moments when I’ve been straight-up depressed,” Shelby said. “It’s been a heck of a hard road.”

Shelby said he has tried looking at the past 13-plus years as a learning experience – “how to overcome adversity, maybe.”

One lesson learned, he said, has been to not tie his self-worth to a job, but instead to things like being a good father and husband.

He jokes his wife, Bethany, remains “so positive it annoys me.” But there are limits, she said.

“The main thing, really, has been watching that zest dwindle from John,” she said. “It makes me sad….

“They see it as one mistake. They don’t see it as 10 years of building a crappy resume… that affects the rest of your life.”

Both hope the lawsuit changes things.

“If this doesn’t work, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Shelby said. “I can’t deliver pizzas all my life.”

Matthew Bowers, (757) 222-5221,

FULL STORY: Identity Theft Ruins Man’s Employment Chances

March 5th, 2011  / Author: john

See the video of this news story at:

By Lindsey Reiser – Multimedia Journalist
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 – 5:39pm

A man in Virginia Beach says his identity was stolen in El Paso, and now his failed background checks have prevented him from getting a job.

John Shelby had a arrest on his record in El Paso; it was a trespassing charge that he says was dropped before it went to court. But because his name and mug shot were in the system, a suspect could easily steal his identity by using his name upon arrest. And that’s exactly what he says happened.

“He didn’t have anything but my name when he was arrested,” Shelby said. He says a man named Jason Newton used his name when Newton was arrested.

“It kind of caused an identity crises for myself a little bit,” Shelby said. Years after his criminal charge in El Paso was dropped, he applied for a job, but was turned down.

“They said at that time I was in El Paso County Jail according to their background check,” he said. After some calls, Shelby thought it was taken care of.

“The officer sent me a letter and it said I had no record on file and it was all taken care of,” he said.

Shelby tried to move on, but every time he applied for a job, he was always passed up. Frustrated, Shelby turned to the El Paso records department. But they told him to hire a lawyer if he wanted his name cleared.

“That I needed to take responsibility for my own life and stop blaming them for my misfortune,” Shelby said.

“We need to have tight safeguards on this to make sure it doesn’t ruin someone’s life,” said Shelby’s attorney in Austin, Stephen Casey. Casey says several people are at fault for what’s happened to his client. But how could this have happened? Newton and Shelby have different hair colors, eye colors, heights, and weights. Casey thinks someone just pulled up Shelby’s prior arrest and didn’t verify that Newton was telling the truth.

“Originally it was the people who put in the information for the arrest report of Jason Newton,” Casey said. “They didn’t verify the information.”

Shelby’s background checks still show those arrests and he says delivering pizzas is the only job he’s been able to get.

“I gave up on school because I figure what’s the point, I’ve never had a job I feel suitable for,” Shelby said.

We’re told Newton is serving a life sentence right now in the alleged beating of a man. Shelby has filed a lawsuit against the city of El Paso for identity theft. We called the city for comment and they said they couldn’t comment because it was a police issue. We called police and they told us they could not comment, even on their procedures upon verifying someone’s identity upon arrest, until they consulted with the city attorney’s office.

Navy vet sues city over info on criminal record

March 5th, 2011  / Author: john

Here is an article published by Mr. John Hall with the El Paso Times:

Navy vet sues city over info on criminal record

Posted: 12/14/2010 09:43:50 AM MST

The city of El Paso faces a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that alleges the Police Department mishandled records and personal information of a man who could not get jobs as a result.

According to the suit filed in district court last week, disabled Navy veteran John Shelby is suing the city for $7.5 million, alleging that he has lost or been denied several jobs that required background checks because the crimes of another man using his name as an alias were incorrectly attributed to him and placed on his criminal record.

The city attorney’s office declined to comment Monday, citing a standing policy not to discuss pending legal matters.

According to the suit, Shelby was arrested in 1991 on suspicion of criminal trespassing, which was dismissed.

The suit alleges that Jason Newton was arrested twice in 1997, once for robbery and a second time for burglary of a vehicle and evading arrest. The suit says that both times. Newton identified himself as John Shelby.

On both occasions, the El Paso Police Department released Newton despite the fact that he was wanted in connection with an attempted murder in Mc Kinney, Texas, the suit alleges. Newton is now serving a life sentence for his part in that crime, the suit says.

Shelby’s personal information, including his Social Security number and place of birth, was filed on the arrest records made under Newton’s alias of John Shelby.

Shelby’s attorney, Stephen Casey, maintains that instead of actually verifying Newton’s


identity, the police imported information from Shelby’s 1991 arrest.

Due to these mistakes, Casey argues that Newton’s criminal record was essentially attributed to Shelby and, as a result, Shelby has failed a series of background checks since 1997, making him virtually unemployable.

Shelby has made several attempts to clear his record over the years and was eventually able to get Newton’s criminal history expunged from his record in 2009.

“He’s basically had to be a pizza delivery driver or work in a seedy bar for the last de cade or more,” Casey said. “This has been the focus of his life, trying to get this corrected.”

The suit charges that Shelby’s privacy was violated and that he was defamed by Police Department records.

John Hall may be reached at; 546-6371.

Press Release of My Case

December 15th, 2010  / Author: john

Press Release Issued Yesterday 10-13-2010



El Paso, Texas – The City of El Paso received notice of a multi-million dollar lawsuit today concerning the role of the City of El Paso Police Department (CEPPD) role in the identity theft of John Shelby.
The suit alleges that in November 1997, Shelby attempted to apply for a job in El Paso but was refused because of a background check showing he was at that time incarcerated in the El Paso city jail. Shelby followed up at the jail and discovered the police actually had in custody a man named Jason Newton.
Newton had given Shelby’s name when arrested by CEPPD. Newton knew of Shelby’s name through acquaintances and only gave Shelby’s name.  Shelby got a letter from CEPPD for any future background checks which explained he was not Newton. But the mixup did not stop there and went deeper than Shelby could possibly know at that time.
Over twelve years later, after many failed jobs, firings, and multiple periods of homelessness, all due to failed background checks, an assistant district attorney for the El Paso District Court helped Shelby get
an expunction of the criminal charges for his record. When Shelby received the paperwork back from that process in January 2009, he found out the awful truth: CEPPD had caused the identity theft.
Shelby had been arrested in 1991 and the charges were dismissed; however, his information was still within CEPPD’s system. Newton had not given any other identifying information upon arrest except Shelby’s name. CEPPD had imported Shelby’s former Texas Driver’s License Number, Social
Security Number, date of birth, height, weight, hair color, eye color, and place of birth from dismissed 1991 arrest. CEPPD had also twice released Newton under Shelby’s name despite the fact that Newton was wanted at the time for capital murder and despite having falsely identified on the
arrest sheet that the information on Newton had been verified through both Federal Bureau of Investigation and Texas Department of Public Safety databases.
Shelby, a disabled veteran who is married with young children, demands justice. “My life and that of my family have been essentially destroyed because CEPPD did not do its job. They “filled in the blanks” with no concern that all of the information was wrong.” He continues, “I’ve not been able to
get any job that requires a background check and have been fired from multiple jobs because of CEPPD’s intentional substitution of my information onto Newton’s arrest record.”
His attorney, Stephen Casey, agrees. “CEPPD is privy to such private information that for them to flippantly fill in information that is wrong on its face is intolerable. Shelby and Newton are nearly seven years apart in age, six inches different in height, forty pounds different in weight, and have
different eye color, hair color, and so there is no way CEPPD verified Newton’s fingerprints in any way.” “Few people can relate to the decades long tragedy which John Shelby has had to endure simply
because CEPPD did not do its job,” Casey added. “I would hate to think that a dismissed arrest could result in having a faulty conviction for multiple felonies.”
Shelby’s suit seeks damages in excess of seven million dollars. The City of El Paso City Council voted to deny Shelby’s claim. Shelby still believes the city should compensate him for the tragedy it caused.

Channel 8 News In Austin,Tx.

November 17th, 2010  / Author: john

A special THANK YOU to Channel 8 News in Austin reporter, Sophia Wurz and to my attorney Stephen Casey, for putting this together. Great Job!

Thanks for helping get out the message of what Identity Theft can do to a person.

If you even suspect that you could be a victim of Criminal Identity Theft, check up on yourself. Check your credit reports and your own criminal record on a yearly basis at the least. Whether you are a victim of an actual Identity Thief or just the victim of a so-called “clerical error” of your local Police Department, the first step in fixing the problem is identifying it.

WordPress Hosting