Skip to comments.Evidence of work fraud untapped
Posted on 04/23/2006 8:07:30 AM PDT by AmericaOne
WASHINGTON -- Two federal agencies are refusing to turn over a mountain of evidence that investigators could use to indict the nation's burgeoning work force of illegal immigrants and the firms that employ them.
Last week, immigration authorities trumpeted the arrests of nearly 1,200 illegal workers in a massive sting on a single company, but they acknowledge that they relied on confidential informants and an unsolicited tip.
It didn't have to be that hard.
The Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration routinely collect strong evidence of potential workplace crimes, including the names and addresses of millions of people who are using bogus Social Security numbers, their wage records and the identities of those who hire them.
But they keep those facts secret.
"If the government bothered to look, it could find abundant evidence of illegal aliens gaming our system and the unscrupulous employers who are aiding and abetting them," said Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz.
The two agencies don't analyze their data to root out likely immigration fraud -- and law enforcement authorities can't do so because the agencies won't share their data.
Privacy laws prohibit that, they say.
The agencies also don't use the power that they have.
The IRS doesn't fine employers who repeatedly submit inaccurate data on workers. Social Security does virtually nothing to alert citizens whose Social Security numbers are being used by others.
Evidence abounds within their files, according to an analysis by Knight Ridder Newspapers and The Charlotte Observer.
One internal study found that a restaurant company had submitted 4,100 duplicate Social Security numbers for workers. Other firms submit inaccurate names or numbers for nearly all their employees. One child's Social Security number was used 742 times by workers in 42 states.
"That's the kind of evidence we want," says Paul Charlton, the U.S. attorney in Arizona. "If you see the same Social Security number a thousand times, it's kind of hard for them to argue they didn't know."
The potential crimes are so obvious that the failure to provide such information to investigators raises questions about Washington's determination to end the widespread hiring of illegal immigrants.
An estimated 7 million unauthorized workers are employed in the United States. They're picking crops, building homes and tending yards. In some cases, they work for the government on public projects that pay them with taxpayer money.
They've built roads in North Carolina and military housing in California and even helped rebuild the Pentagon after 9-11, until law enforcement found out.
They also work at airports, seaports and nuclear plants.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has asked Congress for access to earnings reports, sent by employers with money withheld for taxes and Social Security.
The reports contain workers' names and Social Security numbers, and when they don't match Social Security records, the information is set aside in what's called the Earnings Suspense File.
Created in 1937, the file contains about 255 million unmatched wage reports representing $520 billion paid to workers but not credited to their Social Security earnings records.
The incorrect worker files mushroomed during the 1990s as immigrants poured into the United States. Almost half the inaccurate reports come from industries such as agriculture, construction and restaurants.
"We believe the chief cause of [unmatched] wage items ... is unauthorized work by noncitizens," Social Security Inspector General Patrick O'Carroll told Congress in February.
The IRS also receives the mismatch information.
Particularly disturbing is that possibly millions of the Social Security numbers belong to other people.
In Utah, after Social Security provided data for one criminal inquiry, investigators discovered that the Social Security numbers of 2,000 children were being used by other people.
"What do you think we'd find if we had the ability to analyze all of their information?" said Kirk Torgensen, Utah's chief deputy attorney general. "It would be invaluable. How shortsighted is it that the government doesn't follow this trail?"
This article clearly states that the government has the information to really bust these employers of illegals, lets see if they have the willingness to do it.
The IRS: An enemy agency. (But you already knew that.)
Could you move this thread to Front Page News, if possible. Thank you.
If there are privacy laws that agencies follow it would be considered an illegal act to do otherwise.
If Congressman Hayworth doesn't like it, he needs to do his job and change the laws.
With minuscule exceptions anything done by government can be done better by private industry. Just try to pay at the gas pump with a bogus Visa, Master Card and see how far you get. The card number is verified in seconds and unlike the stupid SS number the account number itself has checksums built in so you cannot just create a number that works unless you know the checksum schema.
Bill O. had a guest on the other night suggesting that the government turn over the verification business to one of the credit card companies. With all their warts they are still much better than any government agency.
--also illustrated by the relative performance of all levels of government vs. Wal-mart after Katrina--
I believe it is. I've been telling people for a while now that illegals are the catylist for the dramatic increase of identity theft in our country.
As far as privacy laws are concerned, I think the appointed heads of these agencies (appointed by Bush) are just saying that as justification for not forwarding this information to the INS (or whatever they are called these days), local U.S. Attorney's offices for prosecution and other Federal and State law enforcement agencies. If the IRS wanted to prosecute you for tax fraud, they would have no problems forwarding your confidential information to the U.S. Attorney's Office for your prosecution.
There are two types sent out by both the SSA and the IRS, the employer "no match letter" and the employee "no match letter."
This crap as much as anything else inspired my new tag line.
If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!
As I stated in an earlier post, the heads of these agencies (IRS and Social Security), both Bush appointees, are saying this to justify or cover-up their unwillingness to share this information with local U.S. Attorneys offices and other pertinent Federal law enforcement and immigration agencies and also various state law enforcement agencies as well.
Trust me, neither the IRS nor Social Security would have no problem in sharing your private/confidential information with pertinent U.S. Attorney's Offices, other Federal and even State law enforcement agencies if they wanted to bust you for tax fraud. The "Privacy" claim is just a smokescreen.
There are legit privacy laws. Just like that CIA operative who chose to give out classified info in an unlawful matter so it should be for them.
Good idea. We should all do it.
The privacy is just a smokescreen by these agency heads to justify or cover up their unwilligness to share evidence of crimes being committed to other Federal and State Law Enforcement agencies. In the CIA operatives case, she shared "classified" information (not "Privacy" information) with someone outside the government (Washington Post), not to a Federal Law enforcement agency. That is a violation of the law.
Since when is it a violation of "privacy" to share evidence of a crime from one federal agency to another federal agency (especially a federal law enforcement or federal immigration enforcement agency)? Again, these agencies would have no concerns about your "privacy" if they saw evidence of tax fraud or other crimes you may have committed. They'd forward evidence they collected that you were committing a crime to the pertinent Federal Law enforcement agency in a heartbeat.
Do you have the link to the FBI tip line that you can post here? Thanks.
Either the law is the law or it isn't. Too chose to believe that it is not would be no different than total anarchy.
I have access to social security numbers where I work. If I was to start releasing them arbitrary to anyone who asked for them I have no doubt my employer who hesitate to fire my butt.
FIGURE 1: STATUS OF THE EARNINGS SUSPENSE FILE (Tax Years 1937-2000) in CONGRESSIONAL RESPONSE REPORT Social Security Administration Benefits Related to Unauthorized Work, A-03-03-23053 (March, 2003), shows some interesting things about the Earnings Suspense File (ESF).
Not only does it show the explosive (and still exloding) spike in the 1990's but it shows that following the 1986 amnesty and "reform" there was a decrease in volume of records in the file.
What does that mean?
Well, the SSA does not delete earnings statements from the ESF unless it can transfer the earnings to a valid SSN
Amnesty -- by any name -- creates valid SSNs and the SSA will transfer past earnings data submitted with bogus SSNs to valid SSNs. It helps to have your old W-2s showing the bogus SSNs you used.
To the best of my knowledge it was a 2004 law that finally required SS benefits be earned with authorized work from 2004 on. ILLEGAL aliens can get SS benefits based upon all bogus SSNs prior to 2004 once they become legal "guest workers," or through their own efforts they become legal and acquire a valid SSN.
It's OBL B.S. that ILLEGAL aliens pay into SS and don't get benefits -- by now even the 2004 law has probably been gutted, that's the pattern with all these "reforms."
Then there's ILLEGAL aliens and those pesky individual taxpayer identification numbers handed out by the IRS like candy starting with the Clinton Administration -- another fine mess our anointed ones got us into.
Do you work for the Government? Do you have employees where you work whose social security number doesn't match or is being used elsewhere? Are you a lawyer or privacy expert?
Please answer my question; When is it a violation of "privacy" for one FEDERAL agency to share evidence of a crime with another FEDERAL agency (especially a FEDERAL law enforcement or FEDERAL immigration enforcement agency)? Do you think it is good "privacy" practice not to notify someone who's SSN is being used fraudulently?
I have an idea - dismantle BOTH agencies and let them get real jobs. We will institute a national sales tax and privatize SS. Also it neatly solves our problem of not having enough low paid workers to pick lettuce and mow lawns, does it not? ;) BTTT
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