So there’s actually two women involved in my identity theft. They worked as a team to take out almost $50,000 worth of loans in my name. One of them used a fake driver’s license. Well, as I reported back in August, they caught them and they plead guilty. At the time I only knew of the first person; I learned about the second a little over a month later. I received two letters, one for each defendant, telling me that there would be sentencing hearings for each of them and I could submit paperwork for my losses. After consulting with several family friends that are lawyers to make sure I was understanding the legal language, it was determined that unless I wanted to submit receipts for the vacation time, the phone time, etc., there wasn’t any way I could legally petition for compensation as I was cleared of all financial liability (I’m not complaining, that was the best thing for my financial and credit health).
But I could submit a letter to the court detailing my experience to give myself, the victim in all of this, some sort of voice in the process. Which I did. It was the hardest letter I’ve ever written in my life as it required me to re-live the horror of the past year (while writing it I ran the gamut of emotional response all over again, only in a condensed or concentrated format). But that letter to the court is my only option to share my experience and have a role in the process.
I’m not going to lie to you, I find the fact that I have no concrete role, no voice, in the proceedings exceedingly frustrating. I’m the VICTIM. They stole MY identity. Not anyone else’s. MINE. I’m the one that has spent what is now over a year of my life trying to repair my identity. Yet there’s absolutely nothing I can do to be compensated for the time, tears, frustration, stress, anxiety, etc. over the past year unless I want to engage in a civil proceedings where I sue them both. Given that they stole my identity to get money, somehow I don’t think that they have any money so it would be pointless.
What’s equally as frustrating is the amount of work I have to do to find out what’s going on. Yes, I received the letters about the cases, which was refreshing and the first time in all of this that I didn’t have to seek out information. Mind you, to add insult to injury, on the first letter my last name was spelled wrong yet again. Good lord, the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT had my name wrong in the case about my stolen identity, which was made possible by a common mis-spelling of my last name. Are you kidding me?!? Am I surprised? NO. Am I frustrated? Yup. Will it the mis-spelling continue to happen for the rest of my life? Yes. It’s something I’ve dealt with since my birth certificate was wrong the first time (my parents made the hospital re-issue it). I’ve accepted it. But it’s kind of a slap in the face that my name was wrong in the federal court documents detailing the theft of my identity. The court officer did say she’d correct it in all the court documents, and it was spelled correctly on the second letter, so I’m assuming that detail has been fixed.
Anyway, back to the frustrating lack of information. The sentencing hearings have been continued. Mind you, no one notified me, I’m the one making all of the follow up calls. And getting a hold of someone that can tell me the status is not always easy. I leave lots of messages. I make repeated calls trying to talk to a person. It’s now several months after the last date I was given for the sentencing hearing, and I’m back on the phone trying to learn what happened, what the sentencing was, if how they did it was revealed, or if it was continued again.
There has got to be a better way for the victims to get information. There has got to be a way for us to have a voice in all of this. Because instead of relief that the people have been caught, right now all I’m feeling is frustration.