Monday, December 15, 2008
Egyptian Charged With ID Theft
By Hailey Heinz
Copyright © 2008 Albuquerque Journal
Journal Staff Writer
An Egyptian national who was in the country illegally told authorities he came to New Mexico because he heard it was the easiest place to get a driver's license, according to a sheriff's department report.
New Mexico is one of the states that don't require proof of U.S. citizenship to obtain a driver's license.
Karim Shaaban Kassem Ibrahim, who is now facing charges of forgery and identity theft, came to the attention of the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department after he applied for a job at Talin Enterprises, a grocery store at Louisiana SE. He applied using the identity of Rami Al Nasa, an Egyptian man living legally in North Carolina.
Al Nasa subscribes to a service that alerts him whenever a credit check is run in his name, and was alerted when Talin Enterprises ran such a check. He contacted the sheriff's department and said he had never applied for a job in New Mexico.
Sheriff's deputies went to Talin posing as new hires at the same time as Ibrahim. According to the report, they watched him fraudulently fill out the paperwork, then arrested him.
But there was already a hole in Ibrahim's cover: All job applicants were required to take a math test, and he had put his real name on the test.
Ibrahim told deputies that he found Al Nasa's information on a job application discarded near a Subway in North Carolina, but Al Nasa's wife told deputies that he had not applied for a Subway job.
Ibrahim said he had been in the United States for four or five years, and used Al Nasa's information because he needed a job and couldn't wait to get one legally. He said he had been using Al Nasa's information for about a year, and had used it to apply for several jobs but until recently those jobs were all in North Carolina.
New Mexico's minimal requirements for driver's licenses came to light in May when two people were charged with transporting Brazilian immigrants from Newark, N.J., to New Mexico to get driver's licenses here.
Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White said New Mexico's lax laws on driver's licenses are making the state a magnet for illegal immigrants.
"We attracted sex offenders when we didn't have a Megan's Law, and now we're attracting people who are here illegally because of how easy it is to get a driver's license," he said. "I would strongly urge the Legislature to revisit it to see if there should be some changes."
Immigration Customs Enforcement officials have taken over the case.