Posts Tagged ‘El Paso’

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

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

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

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

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

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

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.

My Identity Theft Story

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

My Identity Theft Story

My name is John Shelby and this is my personal Criminal Identity Theft story. It all started in Dec. of 1997. I had been hired for a really good job, but was pretty much immediately fired on my first day due to a Criminal Background Check (C.B.C.). The background check said that I was currently incarcerated in my home-town of El Paso,Tx. I was shocked and embarrassed to say the least. So I went down to the downtown precinct in El Paso to see what was going on.

Apparently, this guy had previously used my name when picked up for a robbery, had plead guilty, and had subsequently been arrested a second time for multiple felonies and had once again used my name and was (according to the fingerprint analyst) currently incarcerated. The officer then showed me the perpetrator’s mug-shot and I recognized the guy from the neighborhood. After a few phone calls, I was able to identify the guy as Jason Michael Newton. I was thanked for my time and help, then given a document stating that I had no record on file, and was sent on my way. I was a little perplexed as to how this had happened. I had been arrested myself in 1991 for a trespassing charge that was dismissed, but I had been booked and fingerprinted. So how had this mistake happened?

Well, over the next year, I had the worst time of my life. I had problems gaining employment, I eventually ended up living on the streets in Virginia Beach, Va., which was where I had previously been stationed in the Navy. Talk about rough times, but I never thought to put the two together. Eventually, by the grace of God, I was able to get off the streets and finally gain employment. Life went on, but it was always a struggle. I just never noticed the signs. I knew I had been unable to land a good job no matter my references but thought I was just unlucky. I had been denied a gun permit but was not told why, I just assumed it was due to my arrest in 1991. It wasn’t until 2004 when I had been hired for a Civil Service job, and once again immediately fired for lying on my application about my criminal record, that I realized what was happening.

Apparently, back in 1997 when I had originally gone to the El Paso police Station, that paperwork had never been filed. Mr. Newton had been released on bail under my name and had skipped bail. There were warrants for my arrest. To top it all off, the reason he had used a fake name in the first place was because he was a fugitive for a murder charge in Plano,Tx. Well, he was eventually caught and convicted. Unfortunately, that crime was also showing up on my Criminal Background Check as well as others that he had been convicted of in his own name, since I was his ALIAS. I was screwed. It all made some sense now.

That was when I started fighting. I was on the phone with the EPPD on almost a daily basis trying to get this cleared up. They at first had no idea what I was talking about since that original paperwork had never been filed, they said that basically Mr. Newton had used my ID (a lie by the way-I HAVE PROOF) so it was a case of Criminal Identity Theft. They were also adamant that there was nothing that could be done and I was just basically screwed and I would have to learn to live with it. I was furious. I started calling the news station here in Virginia Beach and was interviewed ( Wavy 10 interview). They made a stink in Austin,Tx. for me, and the people at the State Attorney general’s office told me how to get my name cleared. But El Paso is a whole different third world country in comparison to the rest of the State of Texas, so they still refused to help. I guess they felt they were above the law.

I contacted many people over the next couple of years, politicians, Identity Theft Advocates, attorneys, you name it. With the help of these contacts, and especially the help of Brian Falco (a Criminal identity Theft expert) who was very diligent in helping me get my name cleared. Finally in Jan. of 2008, with much pressure, my record was finally expunged and the warrants for my arrest were finally dropped. Believe me, it still wasn’t over. Through the paperwork that I received after the expuncture, I started to realize all of the mistakes and cover-ups on the part of the El Paso Police Department.

It turns out that Mr. Newton had never used my ID. He had just stated my name. His whole arrest sheet was copied off of my prior arrest sheet in 1991. After his first arrest under my name, for which he plead guilty and awarded me with 2 years probation, he was given all of my personal information by the EPPD. His arrest sheet had my stats instead of his even though he was 6 years younger than me, had different colored hair and eyes, outweighed me by about 50 pounds, and was at least 5 inches taller than me. The license number that they said he had used when arrested was my license number in 1991, that had also been surrendered in another state when I had gotten a new license. They filled in my SSN on the arrest sheet. Then they gave him all of this information when he was released, so it was even easier for him to use my info the next time this career criminal was arrested.

To make it even worse. They checked the boxes on the arrest sheet that stated that they had verified his prints through FBI and DPS. Obviously untrue, since he was a fugitive with a prior record at that time. Talk about a comedy of errors on the part of these officers that made the Keystone Cops look like CSI:Miami. Because of the obvious negligence, I wasn’t even able to vote, among other Civil Rights that a Disabled Veteran should have.

So, where do I stand now? Well, due to the fact that the people in El Paso can’t seem to follow through with anything or do anything right, I still show up on many background checks. I am actually pursuing a civil suit against them. I still deliver pizzas(long story). And I am constantly active in completely clearing my name.

Seriously, if you have been a victim of any kind of Identity Theft, don’t just check your credit but also your Criminal Background. You never know, I didn’t. Even if you are just having problems getting employment, this could be the reason.

If you would like to help me out, which I really need. You can do one simple thing. Go to my website check out my videos and articles and make comments. That seems to be the only thing that is getting the attention of people in the right places. There is a lot to my story that has been left out that is on my website. AND if you know of any media outlets that might be interested in this bizarre story, please forward the link to them as well. Thanks!

Good Name Gone (The Original)

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

See the Criminal Identity Theft story of John Shelby. Identity used in multiple felonies including Capitol Murder. Watch the whole story unfold. You won’t believe who the real culprit is……..

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The First Interview

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

This is the first interview I did with WAVY 10 on your side in Norfolk, Va. This, I believe, was aired in Aug. of 2006. I really didn’t understand what exactly was going on at the moment. You’ll notice that at the end of the segment, they reported that a representative for the State Attorney’s office had said my situation would be fixed immediately. That rep. informed me of the procedures to get it fixed, but for some reason the people in El Paso still refused to have any part of it for over 2 more years. Finally, after getting Identity Theft advocates, contacting FBI, NCIC, DPS, my congress-person, and my state representative, they started after 2 years to actually start fixing this. Still to this day not satisfactorily rectified.

Video EXT

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

This is the extended version of “Good Name Gone:The Identity Theft Story”. Perfect for you people that want to see all the documents, view the evidence, and have about 40 minutes to spare. Comments are more than welcome.

Squidoo Article

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Here is an article I posted on Squidoo in Sept. of 2009.

Good Name Gone

It happened to me.

Want to hear something crazy? You are not even going to believe that this story is true, but I assure you that it is because: it happened to ME!
Now, I was told for years that I was a victim of Criminal Identity Theft. Which technically might be true….But my particular case has also been classified as a “clerical error”. I call it incompetence and negligence. Read below and tell me what you think.
In Dec. of 1997 I was called into the office at my place of employment to be terminated because of negative information showing up on my Criminal Background Check (CBC). I was told that according to their information I was currently incarcerated in the El Paso County Jail.

I went to the Downtown Police precinct to find out what was going on. They, at that time had someone incarcerated under my name. After running my fingerprints, they showed me his “mug-shot” and asked if I recognized him. I had seen him around so I made a few calls and soon identified him as Jason Newton. The Officer made a call to a deputy at the jail, who went and confronted Mr. Newton and verified his ID. The fingerprint examiner (Officer Chavez) then gave me a document that stated that according to finger-prints I had no record on file. He told me this would all be cleared up and that I should keep that paperwork to give it to my employer. He told me that Mr. Newton had used my ID upon arrest, and asked if I had ever lost my ID. I had no recollection of it at the time, so even though I thought this was an absurd mistake considering how myself and Mr. Newton looked nothing alike, I decided to accept Mr. Chavez’s apologies and go on my way glad to have cleared all this up. The weirdest part was that I had been arrested in 1991 for trespassing (which was dismissed) so they had my picture, info, and fingerprints on file.

After losing my job and for some reason not being able to find a new one I actually ended up homeless in Virginia beach, Va. about 6 weeks later. I finally resorted to taking a bartender position at a filthy nightclub and through that job I pulled myself up and actually started to scrape by in the bar scene for a few years.

In June of 2002, I was offered employment at the US POSTAL SERVICE in Suffolk, Va. It was about an hour drive away so I put my house up for sale and left my job. The day before orientation I was informed that my CBC had come back with multiple felonies. I was once again “let go” for lying on my application. After research, I found that I did have multiple felonies. They were:

1. Evading Police
2. Capital Murder
3. Armed Robbery
4. Participation in organized criminal activity.
5. Possession of Stolen Vehicle.

Just to name a few.

I was irate and embarrassed to say the least.

I got on the phone with the E.P.P.D to clear this up. Turns out that somehow the paperwork had never been filed in 1997. Mr. Newton had gotten out on bond and had skipped bail under my name. So, I had warrants out for my arrest. I went through a lengthy process to clear this up. I was apologized to, of course. I sent fingerprints again to El Paso, once it was verified that it wasn’t me then I was told that all of Mr. Newton’ crimes were now attached to my CBC since I was his ALIAS, and that there was nothing that I could do about it and that he was currently serving a life sentence for Capital Murder. My life was basically ruined.

After a couple of years of depression and self-pity, I decided to FIGHT.

I made a stink on my local news in Aug. of 04, which afterwards I was told that all would be rectified. Lied to again. I was once again told that nothing could actually be done. In 05 I finally enlisted the help of Mr. Falco, known to be the expert in CriminalIdentity Theft for the organization I.T.R.C. (Identity Theft Resource Center) out of San Diego, Ca. He worked my case for over 2 years, having as much trouble with Texas and the EPPD as I had had. Finally after Brian teamed up with Ms. Pierce of VICARS of Tx. We were able to put enough pressure on El Paso to get judge to sign a court order to expunge my record and drop the warrant for my arrest in Jan. of 2008 .I finally received my copy of the expongement order in Jan. of 2009.If only that was the end of it.

Through the expongement process, I was able to obtain all of my records. Through investigating these papers I found many descrepencies.

1. Mr. Newton had never used my ID. The TX.DL# listed on his arrest sheet, was my license surrendered in 1992 in the State of Va. But it was the DL# I HAD when I was arrested in El Paso in 1991.
2. During a previous arrest on Mr. Newton’s record he was listed as 6″4″ 205lbs. with green eyes and brown hair. But on his arrest sheet under my name was listed as 5’11” and 155lbs. (my height and weight) with blue eyes and brown hair.
3. Other info such as my place of birth and SSN were all filled in with my information on his arrest sheet. When all he knew going in there was my name.
4. Mr. Newton was a fugitive for attempted murder while he was incarcerated under my name and even though I Identified him, he was still released under my name and subsequently skipped bail.
5. An officer from the EPPD testified in his Murder case in 1998 that Mr. Newton had used a false name and had skipped bail. But I still had warrants and those charges until 2008.

While through the help of Mr. Falco and VICARS of Texas, I have been able to legally clear my name. There are years of my life past and future that are lost due to the incompetence of the EPPD. Years of embarrassment and depression. Years of not being able to find decent employment. Years of vindictive people using my CBC against me. Wasn’t legally able to vote. Wasn’t legally allowed to bear arms. I was lied to and deceived many times. Years of the stress of trying to get my name clear. Heck, I even got a divorce due to the fact that I couldn’t “provide”. To top it all off, my resume is terrible for the last 12 years.

These are the reasons that this is not over and that I intend to civilly sue for damages. I have the full right to under Federal Law section 1983. I DESERVE some sort of payback and vindication. But here’s the deal with that. I can’t get anyone to take my case. I live in Va. and the case would have to be in Texas. I can’t find a local attorney to take the case because of the cost of travel, no license to practice law in Tx., and other excuses. Texas attorneys don’t really want to deal with me because I am a Va. resident and it “complicates things”. I have sent my story to an e-mail list of over 300 Federal Attorneys, no replies. My State Reps and Congress Representatives seem sympathetic but offer no help, but they wish me well.

My case-workers wish to cooperate in any way that might help my cause. They believe that this case could be instrumental in helping to get legislation passed that will protect ID theft victims from having to go through the ordeal that I have. While there are similar cases to mine out there my comedy of errors in their opinions is the worst case of record.
I have a more detailed account of this travesty posted under “good name gone” at if you would like to know more about how this all came to pass.
If you have any opinions, advice, or questions please comment below. I can also be reached at professorx@piranhajohnssite,com

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Good Name Gone:The Story

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

This was written in Jan. of 2009.

A lot of new evidence has surfaced since then.

I guess one of the most life-affecting things that has happened to me is my personal issue with “Criminal Identity Theft”. I need to go ahead and post this story because in one of my previous postings I had referred to my “handicap”, and I have had a few of my readers ask,”What exactly is your handicap?” This is not a physical handicap, but rather a handicap on my pursuit of happiness. So, I am posting this for a few reasons…….

1. To explain how “Criminal Identity Theft” can affect a persons life.

2. To hopefully attract interest in this story from influential people who can help me get my life back. (Attorneys, Media, Senators, Congress People, A.C.L.U., anybody who has not given me the chance to voice my situation)

I know that this story may not be as entertaining as others, but I am hoping it is informative. And that through this post, you the reader might take extra caution so as not to let this happen to you.

In Nov. of 1997 I had been hired as a Bar Manager for 3 bars at the Tigua Indian Reservation Casino just outside if El Paso, Tx. .On 12-1-1997, I was informed that they were going to have to “let me go” and withdraw their offer of employment due to some crimes showing up on my Criminal Background Check. They thought it was interesting that my CBC showed me as being currently incarcerated seeing as how I was standing there in front of them. They understood that it must be a mistake, they said that they really liked me and my work ethic, but all they could offer me was that if I got it all cleared up then I could re-apply after the standard 6 months that was part of their company policy. I was somewhat embarrassed, but I thanked them for their time and was on my way, very perplexed.

On 12-2-1997 I visited the El Paso Police Dept. to clear up the situation. After a fingerprint analysis I was informed that someone had used my ID at the time of their arrest. At that time Mr. Chavez(EPPD Records Dept.) showed me the mug shot of the person who had used my ID and asked if I knew the guy. I thought I recognized his face from the neighborhood and at Mr. Chavez’s desk I made a positive ID within 3 phone calls. I expressed my confusion to Mr. Chavez as to how this had happened. This guy looked nothing like me, was 4-6″ taller than me, and out-weighed me by about 40 lbs., and to top it all off I had been arrested in 1991 in El Paso, my hometown, for criminal trespassing. So they had my fingerprints and picture on file. He said he wasn’t sure how that could happen but that it would be all cleared up now. He thanked me for my time and help, then he gave me a signed and stamped letter stating that I had no record on file with the El Paso Police Dept.

Here is something really interesting that I found out much later. Apparently, when this guy got arrested and gave them my name or ID, while being booked he refused to give them my personal info (because he didin’t know it). So the officers went back to my arrest sheet from 1991 (which was also a stupid arrest due to a couple of Hispanic cops wanting to mess with a White Boy,dismissed of course). They then pulled the info (Place of birth, SSN, Address, and other required info) and used that information to properly fill out their paperwork. On his arrest sheet, it lists him as 5’11’ and 155 lbs.. Which was my stats. While he was obviously well over 6′ and 220 lbs.. If that wasn’t a clue, then maybe the different fingerprints, or the different color eyes, different colored hair, or maybe the Mugshot picture, or maybe even the fact that the record they were pulling this info from was in 1991 which meant he would’ve been about 12-13, would’ve been some sort of clue. Those boys in blue sure pay attention to detail.

Embarrassed and then jobless, I decided to go back to Virginia Beach, Va. Where I had been stationed while I was enlisted in the USNAVY. So right after spending Christmas with the family I returned to VA. I made a few pit-stops along the way, working as a bartender in a couple of different cities, but eventually landed back here in Virginia Beach. After 2 months of trying to find a job here I found myself living on the streets. I did not put 2 and 2 together , I just assumed that for some reason or another I just wasn’t nailing my interviews, even though I had myself trained people on how to interview perspective employees. I had no reason to believe that these crimes were still on my record. Luckily I landed a job at a local bar and grill as a bartender and moved into a seedy pay- by-the-week hotel until I was able to get back on my feet. Which only took a couple of months. Thank God I am good with money.

It wasn’t until June of 2002 that I actually found out what was going on. I had been for years bartending, going to school, and searching for better employment to no avail. But in June I got a break, I had scored really high on the Postal Service entrance exam, plus I got 10 bonus points for being a Disabled Veteran and after an interview was eventually hired at the Post Office as a Carrier in Suffolk, Va.

I was ecstatic, to say the least. I put my house up for sale, quit my job, and was ready to move to Suffolk(about 45-50 miles away). On June 27 I was informed that these felonies were on my record and that he needed an explanation. I went there and hand- delivered the paperwork that Mr. Chavez had given me.I was told that the paperwork meant nothing to him, that it was the most absurd story he had ever heard, that he considered me dishonest for not putting these crimes on my application, and that he was withdrawing the offer of employment. I had already accepted a contract on my house, so….homeless again. Luckily I had already been approved for the loan for a new house so my wife and I decided to go ahead and sale our house and buy another, hoping something would come up. With what we made off of the house we were able to keep afloat for a few months. During this time, I had made a few phone calls but had been told that there was no way to get this off of my record, it would always be there. I got really depressed and dropped out of school, seeing as how I was going to school to be a teacher and there was no way I was ever going to get a teaching job with multiple felonies in my record, so what was the point really.

After that I took various bartending , waiting tables, and other under the table types of employment. Nothing satisfying or well paying to say the least, but it eliminated going through more embarrassing background checks. I grew up a preachers kid so the atmosphere of these bars didn’t really agree with my spirit anyway. At one particular bar that I worked at, I found out the owners daughter was an attorney. So I explained my situation to her and asked her for help. She said she couldn’t help but she would look into it. Eventually the owner used this information against me and pretty much had me black-balled from all bartending jobs in the area by calling the owners of other bars and telling them that I legally could not serve alcohol in the state of Va. because of my record. I felt hopeless I worked for a while as a repo-man, but because of my record I couldn’t get a weapons permit, and now with a little one at home it didn’t really seem like a good idea. My wife had been in a car accident and was unable to work for over a year because of her physical therapy appointments. So we were borrowing money from both of our families just to keep a roof over our heads. After we tapped out all of those resources we finally sold our house to avoid foreclosure. With the money we made off of the house and what my wife made off of her settlement we were able to pay back everybody we owed and just about break even.

Then things started to get interesting. I had taken a job delivering pizzas(no background check), and had worked my way up to a management offer, that did require a background check. Of course these charges came up again only this time it showed I was in prison for capitol murder. Apparently Mr. Jason Michael Newton had gotten out of jail and had killed someone, convicted under his own name, but because I was his ALIAS it also showed up on my CBC as well. That’s when I decided that enough was enough and I refused to be a victim anymore!!!!

I decided that I was going to spend every waking moment pushing to get this fixed. I started calling the records dept. in El Paso on a daily basis. Finally,after convincing her that I was not going away, I got a Ms. Daniels to put me in touch with the Senior Latent Fingerprint Examiner Mr. Bruce Orndorff.When I first told him my story he basically called me a liar until I sent him a copy of the documentation that I had received from Officer Chavez. He said that it was the wrong paperwork and that it had never been filed or recorded. He then had me send my fingerprints via the Norfolk Police Dept. Norfolk, Va. Then he sent me a letter stating that those crimes were not mine. I thought it was over but not even close. Apparently in the Career world that piece of paperwork is just a red flag that the perspective employee has baggage. Also, I was once told that their insurance company would not let them hire me. I also found that in most cases there were other applicants that had no red flags or drama so the job went to the second best qualified. The only way to get past this was to get these charges completely off of my record. So I started a new mission.

First I got interviewed by the local news (WAVY10 on your side).They aired my story and did an investigative report(8-27-2006). I must say they made the EPPD look really stupid. But they ended the story by saying that the Attorney Generals office in Austin, Tx. Had looked into it and had said they would repair my record immediately. I was so excited, but when I (not an influential reporter) called to get everything fixed, they told me their hands were tied. Apparently to get an expongement necessitated a pardon from the governor, and in my situation I could not get a pardon because I had never committed a crime. Great! Gave up again, lost another house, same old same old. That’s when my sister got me in touch with BRIAN FALCO.

Brian Falco was a case worker at Identity Theft Solutions, based in California. He was the only caseworker that specialized in Criminal Identity Theft,pretty much in the whole USA. When he heard my case he said it was the perfect example of negligent Police Work and a records dept. that had no idea what they were doing so we had to go around them to get anywhere. Rejuvenated and with an ally, I started calling everyone I could think of, DPS, NCIC, the FBI(who by the way told me that the whole gov’t in the City of El Paso was under investigation for various corrupt acts) OOOPS did I say that? Eventually my contacts and referrals ended up full circle back to a Ms. Daniels in the record dept. of El Paso. When I called her she said that she did remember me and that nothing had changed and there was nothing she could do, and to STOP CALLING HER! Of course I didn’t stop and at one time she told me that she did sympathize but that I needed to take control of my life and drop it. To which I said, “When ya’ll relinquish control of my life I will take it right back.” I believe that got me a dial tone. Then Brian Falco called her and got a little farther. He finally got a contact by the name of Alfred Pineda who had just transferred there and was willing to help.

Al Pineda got me to send fingerprints again, and got an A.D.A. in El Paso by the name of Lisa Borden to take my case.(Of course with a lot of follow up from Brian and I).The first thing she did was get rid of the warrants, yes warrants for my arrest, in Texas. By the way all of my family lives in Tx. Where I couldn’t visit for fear of being arrested and held without bail on the account of being a flight risk. To make a really long story even shorter, eventually on Jan.30 2008( yes 10 years later) A judge in El Paso finally signed for the expongement of my record. The funny thing about all of that is that I was promised a copy of the expongement papers within 30 days. So after about 60 days Brian called Ms. Borden to find out where this paperwork is and when I would receive it. To which she replied we have no record of Mr. Shelby as far as we are concerned he never existed. So where did that leave me?

Well, apparently, it left me with an expongement (which just means that I was a Criminal that had gotten a pardon for Good Behaviour). The bad thing is that although my record had been legally exponged, it really did not mean anything. You see, there are thousands of little fly-by-night background check companies out there, and they work off of out-dated data-bases. I have even seen a CBC of mine come back with all of these crimes listed: 1.Evading Police. 2. Armed Robbery 3. Possesion of Stolen Vehicle 4. Possesion of Narcotics. 5.Capital Murder, and #6.Participation in Organized Criminal Activity. These are not only the convictions he got under my name, but also convictions under his own name that have been attatched to my Criminal Record because I am his Alias. I am told that I could sue these background check companies, but they have so many disclaimers of how they are not responsible for what they report it is virtually impossible. I have found out that most of these CBC companies are owned by attorneys, who really know how to cover their tails.

So anyways, here’s where I stand today. After getting assigned another attorney with the Attorney General’s office in Austin,TX., we have been trying for months to get a copy of my expongement order that I can use to prove that these crimes are not mine (to CBC companies as well as perspective employers). Of coarse El Paso will not cooperate. After jumping through all of their hoops for the last few months, I finally finished the process of “correctly” requesting a copy of the order. I finally got a letter from the El Paso County Court Records Dept. stating that they have located the record and that I am welcome to “come pick it up” (yeah, right, I live on the East Coast). There are 2 conditions: I must give them 48 hrs. notice and I have to pick it up within 30 days of the day that the letter was written or the order would be destroyed. No problem. except that the letter was written on Dec.4th, but actually mailed on Dec. 17th, and I received it on Dec.22. Which means that the record will be “destroyed on Jan.3 according to the letter(that is today by the way),but their offices have been closed for the Holidays since Dec.23. How suspicious does that sound? My guess is that they don’t even have the paperwork, what would you think?

Here’s the kicker: Although I have every right to sue the crap out of El Paso County or the EPPD for all of their incompetence in this matter. I can not get an attorney to take the case because 1. I have to have an attorney licensed in the State ofTexas. 2. Even if I do, the County will claim “Sovereign Immunity” from such a lawsuit on the ground that none of my Civil Liberties have been violated.( I guess the right to vote, the right to bear arms, and the right to the pursuit of happiness are no longer considered “Civil Liberties”.) And the only way to get past this is to get permission from the Governor of Texas to Civally Sue, and he has already stated through a liaison, that he does not wish to get involved.

To make matters even worse, the contacts in El Paso act like I should be Kissing their Royal Hineys due to the fact that they have finally fixed my situation legally. While here I am left with no legal documentation, and a crappy resume due to the lower-level jobs I have had to take due to these issues. So, if anybody has any ideas, any influential contacts, or any suggestions at all on what I should do next, please comment in the space provided below. But most importantly help me spread the word, tell everyone, forward this post to everybody you have contact with. Maybe eventually this post might save somebody years of trouble, and this story might just end up in the right hands. All I can say in words of advice, is that if you are innexplainably having problems finding employment or obtaining credit, do yourself a favor and get a Criminal Background Check done on yourself. If you are having a similar problem please feel free to contact me, I’ve been through the whole process. Believe me, I know what doesn’t work!

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Criminal ID Theft Article

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
Here is an article I submitted and had published back in Jan. of 09.
Criminal Identity Theft – The Effects From a Victims Stand-Point

Look, we all know that Identity Theft is an epidemic, and that unfortunately it isn’t going anywhere. It’s a “Hot Topic” for the media, and especially early afternoon talk shows. It’s terrible! Somehow, somewhere, somebody slipped up and let somebody else obtain their information. It’s not the victim’s fault, these ID theft specialists are pretty crafty. If they get enough info, they will take you to the cleaner’s for certain. I have heard many stories myself. If you fall victim to Financial Identity Theft, it could take weeks, even months to get it all straightened out. Hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to break back even in the long run, right?

What if I told you that these are the lucky ones? You see, there is a whole different type of Identity Theft out there, it is labeled as Criminal Identity Theft. Criminal Identity Theft is when the perptrator (ID THIEF) uses an individuals personal information in the commission of crimes. It works out great for the perp. Let’s say he/she gets arrested for any reason. If he is convincing enough, he can totally get away with having these crimes go on the victims record instead of his own. If he gets out on a bond before his court date, what does he care if he shows up to court or not. Are you following me, he skips bail and the victim unknowingly has warrants for his/her arrest.

That’s not all. Sometimes the perp actually does get convicted and serves a sentence, all under the victim’s name. These crimes all go on the victims Criminal Background Check and the victim still has no idea at all. When the victim does find out, that’s just the beginning of the hardships. Usually the victim has no idea until someone runs a Criminal Background Check, usually for employment reasons. Once they find out, there’s really not much he/she can do about it. It is a long tedious process of spending hours a day, every day for months (sometimes years) being passed around from one person who has no idea what to do, to another, until eventually you are re-calling the same people in the circle of the clueless.

In my particular case, even though I caught it early, there were still issues of the Police making grave mistakes in fixing the problem. Mostly because they were embarrassed that they were fooled in the first place. So they tried to fix it without the only person who could fix it finding out. So they put a band-aid over a gaping hatchet-wound, so to speak. So paperwork never got filed and never got in the right hands. Now, not only are the 4 felonies that he got under my name on my CBC, but also every crime that this career criminal did under his own name. Now my Criminal Background Check shows me as being convicted of Capital Murder, because my name is his ALIAS (The only way the Police could not look stupid). If you think that can’t affect you more than just a few thousand dollars, try getting a decent job with my record. Also, up until recently, I had warrants for my arrest in the great State of texas for the last 10 years. Which, by the way, is where all of my family lives. Almost all victims of Criminal Identity Theft that have contacted me have a similar story. Few have even got near as far as I have in resolving it.

For a REAL example of how Criminal Identity Theft can affect the victim: Read “Good Name Gone” my own personal tragedy at :

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