Monday, July 30, 2007

Identity Theft and Frontier Justice

InfoWorld's Robert X. Cringely mentioned this story, as did Wired, but the details are here.

A man who obtained a loan using the name and Social Security number of the co-founder of an identity-theft-prevention company will not face prosecution because the company coerced a confession from the suspect, police said Tuesday.
Police had begun investigating the case last month after a representative for Todd Davis, CEO of Arizona-based LifeLock, reported that Davis had become the victim of identity theft.

Someone had used Davis' name and Social Security number to obtain a $500 Internet loan.

Davis frequently publicizes his Social Security number, including on his company's Web site....

But Fort Worth police Sgt. J.D. Moore, supervisor of the major-case unit, said Davis went against his advice and had a film crew tape the suspect's confession in Davis' rush for justice.

Moore said that after conferring with the Tarrant County district attorney's office, police have closed the case with no plans to arrest the suspect.

"It makes it not prosecutable," Moore said. "The confession isn't usable in court. We can't use anything they got on their video or their conversations because it was coerced."

Cringely ended his story here, but Davis still claims victory. In addition to getting his confession, he was also able to mete out punishment.

Davis said he is pleased that he reached an agreement with the suspect.

"He's going to provide community service. I'm confident the penalty wouldn't have been significantly greater," Davis said. "I understand both law enforcement and the district attorney have much bigger priorities than a $500 crime."

So Lifelock not only prevented identity theft, they also helped out an overburdened court system.

So why hasn't Todd Davis provided a testimonial for his own product?


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Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. LifeLock's system doesn't work to prevent identity theft, and now the CEO's identity has been stolen. This after revelations in the Phoenix New Times that the disgraced founder Robert Maynard was an identity thief and not a victim. Now this company decides to take the law into their own hands and in effect prevents the courts from prosecuting this guy. Good luck enfocing that community service, by the way. LifeLock must be the most irresponsible company out there. Why would anyone do business with them?

Ontario Emperor said...

Supposedly the mentally disabled man was contrite about his misdeed, so perhaps he'll do something. Although if some lawyer hooks up with him and convinces him to sue for false imprisonment or entrapment, he may change his mind.

And, to be fair, the appropriation of the CEO's identity was detected. Unfortunately, for all these systems, identity theft isn't detected until after it happens.