Stories of the Absurd: Burglary Victims Arrested After Calling Police

Police in Upper Darby, PA are probably still scratching their heads over this one.

Police say man qualifies as one of the world’s dumbest criminals

NBC News Channel
Published: November 11, 2008

Their home was being burglarized and they did what any other homeowner would do, they called the police.

But then the tables were turned and they’re the ones getting arrested!

Upper Darby Pennsylvania Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood says “they would fit in the worlds dumbest criminals.”

Drugs, guns and knives.

Police say it was all uncovered inside the Upper Darby home along with police badges and uniforms and it was the owners who not only invited police in, they say the couple called them to the house.

Friday afternoon, police say Edward and Debra Hatton came home to find a couple of teens had broken in to thier Maplewood Avenue home. As police scoured the place for clues they say they uncovered a whole new crime.

Michael Chitwood says “as a result of the search warrant, in the basement we found a marijuana growth, plants where growing, it was very, very sophisticated.”

Along with the drugs, guns, and knives, they also found a fully loaded AK-47.

Police also say Mr. Hatton had a whole collection of police jackets and badges some from as far away as Los Angeles and some bearing the emblems of the Philadelphia police and federal authorties.

Michael Chitwood says “our concern is, if he was involved in any type of impersonating law enforcement officer, whether it be federal or local, that somebody would recognize him and call us.”

Police say Hatton has never been arrested for impersonating an officer, but sources say last year, while at a poker tournament at this Upper Darby bar, Hatton wore the badge of a federal officer and a weapon that appeared to be a gun on his waistband. And they say he had a collection of German miliatry medals and this uniform police say is that of a Nazi soldier.

Now investigators are focusing on where Hatton got the badges and jackets and what he’s done with them, possible crimes police wouldn’t have known about had they not been invited inside this house.

Michael Chitwood says “I asked ‘why did you call the police?’ He knows he has all this stuff in his house, and his answer was he didn’t call the police, his wife called the police.”

Click here to watch the news report

Employee Referrals are No Replacement for Background Checks

Don’t get me wrong, I think employee referrals are a great recruiting tool for any organization.  Your employee wouldn’t recommend someone for a job that they wouldn’t want to work with, right?  But just because your star employee recommends someone does not mean that someone doesn’t have a checkered past.  It could just mean that your employee either doesn’t know about it or is trying to help out a friend.

In the following article, the Head of HR for one of India’s top IT-BPO companies is quoted as saying that employee referrals are a great way to save on the time and cost of background screening.  If you ask me, employee referrals are a great way to save on the time and cost of finding talent for your organization, but are no replacement for a background check.  How do you know how long your employee has known the referred party?  Three years, you say?  Well then, let’s get this guy on the payroll!  Let’s just hope that five years ago he wasn’t busted for assault with a deadly weapon and child endangering.  And six years ago he wasn’t jailed for stealing from his former employer.

As much as we hope that the people our employees refer are always going to be top notch, that isn’t always going to be the case.  And again, that may be no fault of your employee – maybe he or she just doesn’t know the person as well as they think they do.  In any event, no alternative hiring tool can replace a background check.  If you want to know who you are hiring, the screening process is absolutely vital.

Click here to read “Job Referrals: New Hiring Mantra”

Background Check Turkeys

In honor of my favorite holiday of the year (and the fact that I am a little slap happy today), I give you this year’s Background Check Turkeys:  Those people who thought they could fool us all as well as those who have gotten fooled.  These are my favorites from the past few months. Enjoy!

One final Turkey also goes to the University of Michigan who will lose again to The Ohio State University again this weekend!  Go Bucks!

By the way, did everyone catch the footage of Governor Sarah Palin pardoning a turkey, while another turkey was being slaughtered in the background?  You can’t make this stuff up.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Stories of the Absurd: Jurors Lie About Criminal Past

I’ve heard of people lying to get OUT of jury duty.  But lying to get IN?  Not too smart, considering who they were lying to.  Who would have thought a court where criminal record information is kept would find out about the criminal records of those serving on one of their juries?

Potential jurors lied about criminal past

BY ERIN L. NISSLEY, STAFF WRITER – The Times Tribune                               

November 19, 2008

A jury trial ended in a mistrial before it began Tuesday when a prosecutor discovered three jurors lied about their criminal records.

All three were chosen Monday, along with 11 others, for the trial of a Scranton man on drug and gun charges. As part of the selection process, potential jurors must fill out a questionnaire that asks, among other things, if they have ever been arrested and if they have ever been convicted of a crime.

All 14 jurors — 12 plus two alternates — answered they had not. But a background check, which is routinely conducted on jurors selected in a criminal case, revealed three had criminal records, Deputy District Attorney Margaret Bisignani said.

Ms. Bisignani reported her discovery to Judge Vito Geroulo on Tuesday morning.

“In my 36 years (in the legal profession), I’ve never heard of anything like this,” he said, joking that jurors more often lie to avoid jury service.

If only one or two of the jurors had lied about their criminal history, the case against defendant Larry Moore, 23, could have gone forward because there still would have been 12 people left on the jury, Judge Geroulo explained.

Ms. Bisignani said if the information had not been discovered, any conviction would be automatically overturned.

“A person is ineligible to serve as a juror if they have a conviction of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison,” she said.

A new jury will be picked this morning, and the case will go forward, Ms. Bisignani said.

The three jurors’ names were not released Tuesday; it’s unclear whether they will face charges. Judge Geroulo said that decision would be up to District Attorney Andy Jarbola, but he felt so strongly about the situation that he called the jurors into the courtroom Tuesday to explain why they were being sent home.

“It interferes with the court’s ability to do business,” the judge said. “The goal is to get fair and impartial jurors. That didn’t happen here.”

Contractor Background Checks: Get Involved in the Process!

If you ask 10 HR professionals what they consider to be a good background check, you’d probably get 10 different answers.  Why?  Because the term “background check” is a very loose term.  When it comes to contract employees, it is vital that companies work closely with their recruiters and temporary staffing agencies to define a screening process.  What they believe to be a thorough background check could significantly differ from what you consider to be a thorough background check.  Nick Fishman authored an article for employeescreenIQ‘s quarterly newsletter, The Verifier, which examines this very issue and offers great advice on how you can work with your recruiters and temporary staffing agencies to set up a screening program to meet your needs.

When companies don’t get involved with the process, they run the risk of employing an individual they otherwise wouldn’t had they known specifics about their past.  A Spokane, WA-based business knows this all too well.

Couple accused of embezzling $800,000

A woman and her boyfriend are accused of embezzling $814,000 from two Spokane advertising agencies and using the money for down payments on houses, luxury vehicles and airline tickets for a youth football team’s trip to California.

Michelle A. Wing and Kenneth Marsh are each accused in a federal indictment of conspiracy and multiple counts of bank fraud in a white collar crime investigation handled by the FBI.

Wing also is charged with two additional counts of identity theft – opening credit card accounts, using her boss’ name, Social Security number and birth date without his knowledge.

The credit card fraud, which lasted several months, reportedly included the $30,000 purchase of a 2008 Super Bowl package for the couple.

Wing, who is 33, was arrested and taken into federal custody last month for violating terms of her supervised release from a similar federal bank fraud conviction in Montana, court documents show.

She currently is being held at a federal correctional facility at SeaTac, and is expected to be returned to Spokane soon to be arraigned on the new charges.

FBI agents arrested Marsh Wednesday at a Spokane concrete company where he works as a dispatcher.

A short time later during an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno, the 39-year-old suspect was ordered held in jail without bail until a detention hearing on Friday.

The indictment alleges Wing was hired in December 2005 by Centaur Group, a Spokane business which provides “administrative services” for two separate advertising companies, E Media, owned by Eric Hixson, and Power Marketing Services, owned by Ryan Pirello.

The two businessmen, who jointly own Centaur Group, said Wednesday they hired Wing to do bookkeeping work through a temporary employment agency, based in Spokane, whose owner had assured them he had done a criminal background check.

They had no idea, Hixson and Pirello said, that the bookkeeper they hired was on federal supervised release for a 2001 bank fraud conviction in Missoula, Mont.

More

11/20/2008 Federal Contractor E-Verify Rule Is Final! By Teresa A. Cheek of Young Conaway

The E-Verify program took center stage when federal contractors were mandated to use the system in June. The mandatory E-Verify took many federal contractors by surprise and put other employers on high alert. The federal government issued a proposed rule on June 12, 2008, and solicited public comments. About 1,600 comments were submitted.

On Friday, November 14, 2008, the final rule for the E-Verify program was published in the Federal Register, together with summaries of the public’s comments and the government’s responses to the comments. To see the rule without the comments, go to the end of the document, but the comments and responses are helpful to the big picture. Here’s the bottom line.

Starting on January 15, 2009, once you are awarded a federal contract worth more than $100,000 that has a performance term of 120 days or more, or if you have a subcontract worth more than $3,000, you will have 30 days to enroll in the federal contractor E-Verify program. Enrolling involves signing a non-negotiable Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Homeland Security and registering the individuals who will be using the system. I suggest that you take a look at page 5 of the E-Verify User Manual to get an idea of your options and what it will be like to use the system. The people you select to be “users” of the system will have to register and take the on-line tutorial before you can actually begin using the system.

You might want to register now and begin using the standard E-Verify system for new hires to give get a head start before the deadline. If you are already enrolled in the E-Verify program as of January 15, 2009, and you have a qualifying contract or subcontract, you will have to modify your enrollment to switch to the federal contractor version. Within 90 days of enrollment as a federal contractor, you will have to begin using E-Verify for all new hires in the U.S. (including people who are not working directly on a federal contract), within three days after the employee begins working for pay.

There is one major difference between the federal contractor E-Verify process and the standard E-Verify process. Federal contractors will also have to run E-Verify on each current employee who was hired after November 6, 1986 and who is directly involved in work under the contract. The standard E-Verify process may be used only for new hires.

As you receive new contracts, or make new assignments of current employees to work on a contract, you will have 30 days to run those newly assigned current employees through E-Verify. You don’t have to run your current general administrative support and overhead employees through E-Verify if you don’t want to, but you will have the option of running all of your current employees through E-Verify. You might want to do this to avoid trying to figure out whether an employee is “directly” working on a contract. It’s also a good way to avoid accusations that you assigned an employee to work on a federal contract for discriminatory reasons. You have to give DHS notice if you decide you are going to use E-Verify for your entire post-11/6/86 workforce.

You will probably want to modify your employee information system now to include a way to track whether you have run each employee through E-Verify, and also (if you aren’t going to run all employees through E-Verify) to track whether the employee is working on a federal contract. You only have to E-Verify an employee one time, regardless of how many contracts the employee works on.

You will need to become familiar with some rules for avoiding discrimination while using the E-Verify. They are listed in the E-Verify User Manual. The most important ones are:

  • Employers may not verify newly hired employees selectively, and must follow E-Verify procedures for all new hires while their company is participating.
  • Employers may not request that the employee use certain documentation for Form I-9 or E-Verify purposes. (This would be considered to be “document abuse.”)
  • Employers may not use E-Verify to discriminate against any job applicant or new hire on the basis of his or her national origin, citizenship, or immigration status.
  • Employers may not use the system to pre-screen applicants for employment.
  • Employers must provide their employees with an opportunity to contest a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC). (This is what happens if the system finds a “mismatch” between database information and the information you submit about the employee.)
  • Employers cannot take any adverse action against an employee based upon E-Verify unless the program issues a Final Nonconfirmation.
  • Employee must continue to work during the verification process.

A good jumping off point for perusing the generous amount of information available on government websites about E-Verify is the USCIS web page.

Teresa Cheek is a labor and employment attorney at Young Conaway. She has defended class action claims brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (sexual harassment), the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (immigration discrimination), and the U.S. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (race discrimination in hiring). She has tried cases before juries, state and federal judges, administrative agencies, hearing officers and arbitrators. She advises companies regarding compliance with employment and labor law. She also conducts internal investigations of claims of sexual harassment and other work-related misconduct. Her clients include both private and public sector organizations. She has spoken frequently at seminars on employment law and contributes frequently to Young Conaway’s Delaware Employment Law Blog.

Other Related Links: Federal Contractors Now Mandated to Use E-Verify
employeescreenIQ Electronic Employment Eligibility Process
I-9 Compliance: A Smart Solution for an Overlooked Process

Federal Contractors Mandated to Use E-Verify

As many of you know, last June President Bush signed into law a mandate for Federal Contractors to use E-Verify (the government program that allows instant verification of right-to-work status).

As of November 14, 2008, the law was finalized and enforcement begins on January 15, 2009.  Teresa Cheek from The Delaware Employment Law Blog did a masterful job of explaining the law, who it affects and what needs to be done to get in compliance.  See the following excerpt from her post below.

“Starting on January 15, 2009, once you are awarded a federal contract worth more than $100,000 that has a performance term of 120 days or more, or if you have a subcontract worth more than $3,000, you will have 30 days to enroll in the federal contractor E-Verify program.  Enrolling involves signing a non-negotiable Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Homeland Security and registering the individuals who will be using the system. I suggest that you take a look at page 5 of the E-Verify User Manual to get an idea of your options and what it will be like to use the system. The people you select to be “users” of the system will have to register and take the on-line tutorial before you can actually begin using the system.

You might want to register now and begin using the standard E-Verify system for new hires to give get a head start before the deadline. If you are already enrolled in the E-Verify program as of January 15, 2009, and you have a qualifying contract or subcontract, you will have to modify your enrollment to switch to the federal contractor version.  Within 90 days of enrollment as a federal contractor, you will have to begin using E-Verify for all new hires in the U.S. (including people who are not working directly on a federal contract), within three days after the employee begins working for pay.

There is one major difference between the federal contractor E-Verify process and the standard E-Verify process. Federal contractors will also have to run E-Verify on each current employee who was hired after November 6, 1986 and who is directly involved in work under the contract. The standard E-Verify process may be used only for new hires.”

Read the full article