Written by attorney Jeremy S Geigle

4 Women Charged with Identity Theft & Forgery in Phoenix, AZ

On a Thursday evening in early August, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) arrested four women during its 74th worksite immigration raid on Pro-Serv, a commercial cleaning service based in Phoenix, Arizona. The women, all employees of the cleaning company, are facing charges of forgery and identity theft.

Arpaio’s Controversial Raids

Even though federal Judge G. Murray Snow found the Maricopa County Sheriff guilty of racial profiling in a ruling issued this year, Joe Arpaio shows no signs of changing his ways. Technically speaking, Arpaio is using AZ state fraud and identity theft statues as support for conducting these worksite raids on Pro-Serv and other Phoenix companies. However, instead of prosecuting employers, Arpaio focuses instead on arresting and punishing the undocumented workers. In most all of these cases, the workers have been Latino.

A lawyer for Pro-Serv, Julie Pace, confirmed that MCSO currently has a warrant for 120 personnel files. She also stated that since 2008, “the Company has been using E-Verify to check prospective employees’ work eligibility."

Identity Theft in Arizona

According to A.R.S. 13-2008, a person commits taking the identity of another person or entity if they knowingly purchase, take, record, possess, use, or manufacture any personal identifying information of another person or entity, including a real or fictitious person or entity, without the consent of that person or entity, with the intent to obtain or use the other person’s identity for any unlawful purpose or to cause loss to such person, whether or not the person actually suffers any economic loss as a result of the offense, or with the intent to obtain or continue employment.

Furthermore, a person is guilty of knowingly accepting the identity or another person if they, in hiring an employee, knowingly do both of the following:

-Accepts any personal identifying information of another person from a potential employee and knows that the potential employee is not the actual person identified by that information.

-Uses that identity information for the purpose of determining whether the individual who presented that identity information has the legal right or authorization under federal law to work in the United States.

Both of the offenses described above are typically charged as class 4 felonies in Arizona.

Identity theft is an extremely serious offense and is prosecuted very harshly in AZ.

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