Having your identity stolen is bad enough, but what if then you were arrested for the very fraud perpetuated against you?
That’s what happened to a New Mexico resident. A gentleman who also happens to be a military veteran with security clearance and no criminal record to speak of. As detailed in this recent Albuquerque Journal story, John Ganley, 40, had his identity stolen sometime in the Fall of 2015.
Soon after, in September of 2015, a criminal used Ganley’s ID to cash a check. Despite the fact that the perpetrator looked very different from Ganley in the surveillance footage police accessed (younger, different facial features, of a smaller build), the Albuquerque Police Department issued an arrest warrant and criminal complaint against Ganley.
Ganley was eventually taken into custody, and booked into a detention center, which proved to be “a traumatic experience for him,” according to his lawyer, Nicole Moss.
According to the Albuquerque Journal story, “Further investigation by a detective, according to court documents, found that Ganley was a ‘victim of identity theft and was not the perpetrator’ of the crimes with which he was charged.”
Eventually the case was dismissed by prosecutors on Oct. 20. But the damage was done.
Now Ganley, who works as a dispatcher for the Kirtland Air Force Base Fire Department, is suing, arguing emotional distress, anxiety and depression and seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
This is not the first report of an identity theft victim being arrested for crimes they didn’t commit. In this story, James Molden, 27, was arrested, extradited more than 700 miles away from home to Missouri, and spent more than a month in jail.
He was charged with crimes committed by his former roommate, who stole his identity. The roommate bought a car he didn’t make a single payment on and opened bank accounts and bounced checks all over.
The prosecuting attorney in Pulaski County, Missouri eventually dismissed the charges, but by then Molden had lost his jobs, his car and a month of his life.
Are you covered for identity theft?