Hill: U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Unauthorized Aliens and ID Theft is a Win for Indiana

(INDIANAPOLIS) – A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision ensures states will be able to continue prosecuting cases of identity theft that involve unauthorized aliens, Attorney General Curtis Hill said today.

In Kansas v. Garcia, the Kansas Supreme Court relied on a federal law that strictly limits the use of job applicants’ work-authorization forms to throw out the identity-theft convictions of three restaurant workers who lied on both tax withholding forms and work-authorization forms. But the U.S. Supreme Court reversed, ruling that prosecutors are permitted to prosecute job applicants who fraudulently use other people’s Social Security numbers so long as they learn of the fraud from sources other than the work-authorization forms (such as tax-withholding forms).

Attorney General Curtis Hill

“The Kansas court’s erroneous interpretation would have invited would-be identity thieves to evade state prosecution just by including in a work-authorization form any information they stole,” Attorney General Hill said. “To say the least, granting identity thieves such power to immunize themselves from prosecution would seriously impede states’ efforts to fight identity theft.”

In a document submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court last May, Attorney General Hill led a 12-state coalition supporting the legal view that ultimately prevailed.

“Identity theft is an extremely pervasive and costly crime,” Attorney General Hill said. “I appreciate the Supreme Court’s wisdom in allowing states to use appropriate measures to combat the problem. This is a win for Indiana.”

Attached are Indiana’s brief filed last May and the U.S. Supreme Court’s March 3 decision.