Chertoff Says ID Theft Reason Behind Raids

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff addresses the media today in Washington about the raids.-AP photo
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff addresses the media today in Washington about the raids.-AP photo

After a nationwide crackdown on a massive identity theft scheme at Swift plants in six cities, the Department of Homeland Security has released the total numbers of Swift employees arrested...including what charges they face.

Some of the employees arrested were brought in on immigration violations. Some were charged with identity theft, pretending to be someone else to get a job at a Swift plant, like the one in Cactus. 

Homeland Security officials  say in all...almost 13 hundred Swift employees were arrested on immigration related charges. 65 of those arrested were also charged with identity related crimes. 

Of the 295 people arrested in Cactus as part of "Operation Wagon Train" 25 were also charged with participating in identity schemes right here at home. ICE agents say the investigation was prompted by tips from local police departments and callers to their national hotline...the investigation blossomed into the largest worksite enforcement investigation the department has ever attempted.

Officials add many have participated in "document rings" where they purchased legal documents from U.S. Citizens. 

To reform the identity theft problem across the country Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff believes changes need to be made to our social security system.

During this morning's Washingotn de-briefing...Chertoff explained the current system does not alert Homeland Security when one social security number is used multiple times.

He believes this quote "legal obstacle" is aiding the growing problem of identity theft nationwide. "We're gonna press congress to give us the support and continue the support to get the job done. Yes it costs a little bit of money yes there's a little bit of grumbling about the need to change to the new kinds of documents...but if it protects Americans against identity theft or a host of other problems its worth making the investment and gettign the job done."

Chertoff added the identity theft problem is a threat to national security...and is pushing for congress to implement a temporary worker program when they return to work next month.

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