Posts Tagged ‘identity’

‘Know thyself ‘: all human knowledge begins with an awareness of self. As a child you begin vaguely at first and get to know your place in the narrow world that surrounds you. Coming to terms with the world at large is a slow steady process. During which you do not ever miss sight of your awareness of self. Every challenge at the playground or in the class room you learn in a manner that becomes with repetition, a second nature to you.

Going out into the wider world it may be unsettling at first where you are not taken for what you are. The world is fast settling you to a role that you are sure does not speak for you. You are not so-and so’s son or kid brother. You are what you choose to be. It is here your real knowledge begins in right earnest. How best your conception of your worth is accepted by others? All that clean CVs you present for a position in the company may open the doors or slam shut. You have come to the real test where you must know no one has time or inclination to know you as well you have known. It is somewhat unsettling to know you are assessed by circumstances and facts that didn’t reckon as vital to you. Your identity is seen by world from the wrong end of the glass as it were.

You are a number and  your identity has been mashed and drawn into so many pulses in a virtual space that may be hacked and stolen.

For almost 12 years, a Houston elementary school teacher and an illegal immigrant living in Topeka have engaged in a tug of war to claim the identity of Candida L. Gutierrez in a case that has put a face on the growing crime of “total identity theft” in the United States.

Now to quote from the Associated Press (Wichita,Kan.) —On Monday, the real Candida L. Gutierrez saw her identity thief, Benita Cardona-Gonzalez, for the first time. Their encounter came inside a federal courtroom in Wichita, where Cardona-Gonzalez, a Mexican national, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for possessing fraudulent identification documents.

The plea deal Cardona-Gonzalez struck with prosecutors in January gave her less prison time, but guaranteed she would not contest her deportation. She pleaded guilty to an aggravated felony, which typically results in automatic deportation.


Gutierrez first learned her identity had been hijacked when she was turned down for a mortgage. Each year she trudges to the Social Security Administration with her birth certificate, driver’s license, passport and even school yearbooks to prove her identity and clear her employment record.

She spends hours on the phone with creditors and credit bureaus, fills out affidavits and has yet to clean up her credit history. Her tax records are a mess. She even once phoned the impostor’s Kansas employer in a futile effort to find some relief.

Both women had claimed they were identity theft victims and sought to get new Social Security numbers. The Social Security Administration turned down Gutierrez’s request and instead issued a new number to the woman impersonating her.

And in another ironic twist, Gutierrez was forced to file her federal income tax forms using a special identification number usually reserved for illegal immigrants.

Their struggle finally came to a head when Gutierrez got married a year ago, and her new husband set out to clear her credit history. He traced the identity thief to Topeka and on the Internet he found a press release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas about the prosecutions of other illegal immigrants working at Reser’s Fine Foods, the same manufacturer where Cardona-Gonzalez worked. He contacted federal authorities in Kansas, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson took up their case.

“I don’t think we would ever have solved this issue without Brent’s help,” Marquardt said.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren called the case a “classic example” of the harm done by identity theft, saying people who characterize the cases as victimless crimes are uninformed. He said he had some reservations about the 18-month prison sentence and whether it was enough, but decided it was acceptable to meet sentencing objectives and bring closure to the victim.

Defense attorney Matthew Works told the court that his client didn’t have an understanding of how difficult it is for the victim to get her identity back. He said after the hearing that Cardona-Gonzalez has authorized him to do anything he can to “try to fix it” so Gutierrez could regain her identity.

Still pending before the court is a prosecution request that Melgren order the Kansas Office of Vital Statistics to correct the name of the mother on the birth certificates issued to Cardona-Gonzalez’s two children who were born in Kansas.





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Boogie Loogy ©

Joe Miller worked as a clerk in Hott & Tott Bank, Mombassa. Having worked some twenty years the same tasks and with the same customers he hated it. He wanted to see some well-fed faces for a change and he knew it made him feel better to receive compliments or some gifts from them. The Board members always got presents during Christmas and special days. Instead he got to see only the pensioners, widows and indigent store keepers who came always and asked with their pinched faces, ‘Will the President give us an interview?
‘No he is unavailable.’ he always insisted. Mr., the president was in his narrow world the presiding deity and it was his duty to stop his customers from wasting his time.
One morning he said to his colleagues,’ My daughter Lalwani is the cleverest girl. She is an accountant in a London Bank.’ He narrated how she saved the bank from an imminent collapse. No one could make the books tally but she could. He relished the looks of their faces when he narrated the story. So he added, enjoying himself, ‘She did what others thought impossible. In three days, mind you! My daughter Lalwani saved the bank.’
On the fourth day his hearers thought he would change the subject. But there within the Bank their accounts were totally out of line. It often came up in their conversation. So later in the day he found an occasion to repeat himself. ‘She is a miracle worker, no doubt of it.’ His coworkers giggled and made appropriate noises to tell him they believed everything he said. In fact they knew a girl of the stock of Miller could not be any better than one who wore a pith helmet even after the last white man had gone some thirty years.

The week’s gossip however reached the ears of Mr. LG. He called his lieutenants and asked if there was some truth in Joe Miller’s boast. No one was sure. The President of the Bank said, ‘We are in a mess. What with a few revolutions we let the matter dither. We must make our books tally.’ The president of the Bank’s fears was well founded. The Auditors appointed by the dictator were expected to drop in any day. If they ever found the lapses the members of the Board would have been rounded up and shot. ‘It is the book or our lives!’ Mr. L.G shuddered.
So Mr. LG called Joe Miller next morning to his office. He insisted that his daughter put the books in order.
For once Joe Miller regretted he had spoken out of turn.
The clerk frantically got his daughter come to his rescue. When Lalwani came home all the books from the Bank dating from five years back were stacked in the parlor. She fainted when she heard what she was supposed to deliver. ‘In three days, papa,’ she cried,’ impossible!’ She stared at all the bills, vouchers, bonds not to mention the books that made a thick heap.’

‘I am yet to pass one part in the examination for Negotiable Instruments in Practice and theory.’
But her father would hear none of it. He said, ‘Go to work!’
She beat her chest and cried, ‘Impossible!’ Her father said, ‘It is not a word Mr. LG will want to hear.’
He said the president would throw him to the gutter if he failed him. He shut the door behind him and went to the bank.
She wrung her hands in despair and cried. While she paused to catch her breath she saw a toothless bushman from Kalahari sitting on the pile of books. Swinging his feet in air he said her fairy godmother had called him up from the other world to assist her. ‘I am a shaman.’
‘But my god mother cannot add four and four!’
‘Now in the world beyond she can count and write.’ said the shaman, ‘I will go in trance and she is going to make this little problem go away ‘.

‘To whom do I owe thanks?’ Lalwani asked somewhat cheerful, ‘What is your name, little man?’
‘I cannot utter my name myself lest I go up in flames.’ he said terribly in a confused state. She said he could help her problem go away. He nodded.
The bushman went on and on reciting his spells while an unseen hand put the book in order. In three days she had made the books tally. ‘Impossible!’ Mr. LG gushed when he was told the books were ready. Joe Miller got a golden handshake and also a generous bonus that was amounts owed to him for ten years or so.
He retired to his village to buy more sheep and cattle. He had become a VIP in his village.
The dictator of the country Colonel Usambi came to know of Joe Miller and his daughter. He sent for Lalwani and treated her as though she were a talisman.
After supper he told her to make all his ill-gotten wealth disappear from record. ‘I am Col. Usambi and not Charles Taylor’. He wanted her to make him look good and not as a crook. ‘The world must believe I am a benefactor to my people and not a thief.’ he added grimly. Lalwani thought her head reeled and death squad coming to get her.
Meanwhile the colonel took her to his office in his armored limo and showed the bonds, and other instruments he had in his hands. A thick sheaf of it was in fictitious names. He showed her bullion, blood diamonds and he said, ’All these must be made legit. Here are chests of currency derived from drug deals. You shall make it white.’
She pleaded headache and wanted time to think over. ‘Oh no!’ said the colonel, ‘I have a pistol and once I pull the trigger it will not ask time to think over. It does what it must. Understand?’
She knew she was at his mercy. So she said she will get down to business. ‘One week you have.’ the dictator left her to work it out.
Lalwani cried, ‘Oh little man from Kalahari Help!’
Instantly he was there. He laughed and said, ‘I shall help but I want something in return.’
He wanted her for his bride.
‘O I love the idea very much’ she cried and thanked him. Only that as one who studied law of taxes she was sure always there were clauses by which one was exempted from paying taxes. ‘Is there a way in which I can claim exemption?’
He understood the general drift and said, ‘I cannot tell you my name but you can tell me what it is. Then you are free to do as you like’.
She agreed. She called the colonel privately for certain help. He agreed.
Lalwani sat with the bushman who was once again in trance. He said, ‘The matter is much more serious. But I am holding a séance with Skilling, Lay, Madoff and a few others.’ He assured the matter would be taken care of. ‘I shall tell you how. You just do as I tell.’ She agreed.
In the end she was ready. Her godmother’s shaman had done it second time. She sat with the dictator and told how to keep his wealth she asked if he could find what she had asked. The colonel gave her a piece of paper.
The bushman was meanwhile waiting for his prize.
She read the name. ‘Boogie Loogy.’
The bushman stamped his foot in anger and asked how she managed to find his name.
‘You hold an account in Hott & Tott Bank, Kalahari. Is it not?’
He was disappointed and with a yell he disappeared. (Brothers Grimm)

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Will the real Mulla Nasruddin stand up-2

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