Kiefer man's life turned upside down because of ID theft

Friday, January 27th 2006, 9:47 am
By: News On 6

Usually, when you hear about identity theft, it involves someone using your information to get credit cards or loans. The News on 6 has a case that goes far beyond that.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains how a Green Country man's life is being ruined by someone he's never met.

Chris Fousel plays with his two children while he waits for his wife to come home from work. As much as he loves time with his kids, he'd rather be working. He's been trying to find work for a couple of months, so when he got hired last week, they were delighted. But their hopes were dashed when a criminal background check came back bad. "He said I had so many felonies on my record and I'd have to get that fixed to get the job."

The trouble is, Chris doesn't have a criminal record at all. Chris' social security number was used by Larry Sinnett, a man Chris has never met, who is currently in state prison with a history of drunk driving, drugs and marijuana convictions. But Chris is the one suffering. "She looked at me like a common criminal and I'm told it will take two to three months to get it off my record."

Chris doesn't have two or three months or money to hire a lawyer. He had to borrow money from a family member just to keep his water turned on and his electricity might be shut off, all because he can't get a job, even though he's done nothing wrong. He's worried sick. "Knowing that I'm fixing to lose what little I have. I've worked really hard for all I have in the past seven or eight years and now I'm going to lose it all because of someone else’s stupidity."

Chris got a letter from the social security administration saying the number belongs to him, not Sinnett. He even got a letter from the District Attorney's office explaining he's the victim of identity theft, but none of that matters, because the felonies still appear on his record.

The social security administration won't give Chris a new number unless he's in threat of bodily harm. So, now, he must be fingerprinted by the OSBI and then, hopefully that agency can change his record, but that could still take months.

Chris has no idea how his social security number got stolen, although he did lose his driver's license a few years back.