News & Resources

Arizona police bust ID theft ring

Mar 09, 2011 Brian Bradley

In a large-scale identity theft sting, police in Arizona recently arrested 23 employees of a restaurant chain on charges they used false or stolen identification to get jobs. At least 121 of the 800 employees at Pei Wei restaurant appear to have falsified documents, including Social Security numbers, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, and authorities expect to conduct more arrests soon. "People apparently are fed up with the ID theft problem and the problems ID theft causes and are willing to help law enforcement to insure the successful prosecution of this kind of crime," said Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio. He said investigators contacted the victims of ID fraud, and more than 100 of them wanted to aid in [the] prosecution of the fraudsters. Most of the victims live out of state, four are deceased and eight of them are children under 12 years old, the investigation found. The U.S. federal government is taking aim at employers who use illegal labor in their businesses. Congress is currently considering a bill, the Jobs Recovery by Ensuring a Legal American Workforce Act, that would require all businesses to use the federal background check website to conduct pre-employment screening for any applicant.