Though most identity theft victims don't have it too hard, others get put through the wringer.
Witness the case of Marc and Rachel Griffith, a Washington couple dealing with the electronic mess made by a suspect who was arrested today by Phoenix police.
Marc Griffith nearly gave up his dream of becoming a law officer because he kept getting turned down by various police agencies. He figured he'd apply to one more, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office in Washington, before giving up. That agency grew suspicious that Griffith was the victim of identity theft after a background check turned up criminal violations.
Instead of rejecting Griffith, the office eventually made him a deputy and opened an investigation that led to today's arrest of Travelle Bradford.
Griffith, who's in the Air Force, is currently on his second tour of duty in Iraq. But his wife, Rachel, is still working "full time" trying to clean up the multiple fraudulent accounts.
Local police included a heartfelt (though tough to read, due to the capital letters) letter from Rachel Griffith, reprinted below:
MARCH 23, 2009
MY NAME IS RACHEL GRIFFITH, AND I AM THE WIFE OF MARC PAUL GRIFFITH, WHOSE IDENTITY WAS STOLEN BY TRAVELLE CASH.
I AM WRITING THIS TO INFORM YOU OF THE HARDSHIPS THAT THIS ID THEFT HAS CAUSED NOT ONLY MY HUSBAND BUT OUR ENTIRE FAMILY. MY HUSBAND IS A SHERIFF'S DEPUTY FOR CLACKAMAS COUNTY IN THE STATE OF OREGON, HE HAS HAD THIS POSITION SINCE NOVEMBER OF 2007, BUT BEFORE HE WAS HIRED ON WITH THE CCSO, HE APPLIED TO 5 DIFFERENT AGENCIES AND WAS TURNED DOWN BY ALL OF THEM, IT WASN'T UNTIL LATER THAT WE LEARNED THE REASON BEHIND ALL OF THE DEPARTMENTS TURNING HIM DOWN WAS DUE TO THE CRIMINAL ACTIVITY OF TRAVELLE CASH WHICH HAD BEEN ATTACHED TO MARC'S NAME. WE WERE LUCKY ENOUGH THAT THE CLACKAMAS COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE LOOKED INTO THE CRIMINAL RECORD IN MY HUSBANDS NAME AND REALIZED THAT THIS WAS IN FACT ID THEFT, IF THE CCSO HAD TURNED MY HUSBAND DOWN HE WAS GOING TO STOP APPLYING WHICH MEANS HE CAME LITERALLY ONE GOOD BACK GROUND INVESTIGATOR AWAY FROM NOT HAVING HIS DREAM CAREER. IT TOOK MY HUSBAND ALMOST TWO YEARS TO OBTAIN HIS POSITION AS A DEPUTY BECAUSE OF THE ID THEFT.
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WHEN WE FIRST DISCOVERED THE ID THEFT, WE WERE IN THE PROCESS OF MOVING. WE HAD JUST SOLD OUR HOME AND WENT TO OBTAIN THE LOAN FOR A NEW HOME, WE WERE TURNED DOWN, WHICH BAFFLED US BECAUSE WE ARE VERY RESPONSIBLE AND NEVER LATE ON BILLS, IT WASN'T UNTIL WE RECEIVED A COPY OF MARC'S CREDIT REPORT THAT WE REALIZED HE HAD NOT ONE BUT ALMOST TEN FRAUDULENT ACCOUNTS THAT HAD BEEN SENT TO COLLECTIONS. THESE ACCOUNTS INCLUDED NUMEROUS CELL PHONE ACCOUNTS, MEDICAL BILLS, UTILITY BILLS, AND ALSO TRAFFIC TICKETS. WE HAVE 3 CHILDREN AND TWO LARGE DOGS AND HAVE BEEN STUCK CRAMPED IN AN APARTMENT WITH NO YARD FOR OUR CHILDREN OR DOGS FOR THE PAST 2 YEARS. CLEARING UP THE FALSE ACCOUNTS OFF OF MY HUSBANDS CREDIT HAS BEEN TEDIOUS, AND INCREDIBLY STRESSFUL. IT HAS BEEN SO TIME CONSUMING THAT LAST NOVEMBER I DECIDED TO QUIT MY JOB JUST SO THAT I COULD WORK ON THIS FULL TIME, AND THAT'S WHAT IT HAS BECOME A FULL TIME JOB. THIS STRESS HAS BROUGHT ME TO TEARS ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION. WE HAVE BEEN FEVERISHLY WORKING ON THIS FOR THE BETTER PART OF TWO YEARS NOW AND THERE ARE STILL AT LEAST 4 ACCOUNTS THAT NEED TO BE CLEARED UP, NOT TO MENTION THE MANY TICKETS, FALSE DRIVERS LICENSES, VEHICLES, AND WARRANTS IN MY HUSBANDS NAME. EVERY TIME WE MADE PROGRESS AND GOT A FRAUDULENT ACCOUNT REMOVED ANOTHER ONE WOULD POP UP OUT OF NO WHERE. IT IS THE MOST FRUSTRATING FEELING WE HAVE EVER HAD TO HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO SIT BACK AND BE VICTIMS OF THIS CRIME AND HAVE NO OPTION BUT TO WAIT UNTIL A NEW COLLECTIONS ACCOUNT OR CRIMINAL RECORD APPEARED THEN SPEND HOURS TO CLEAR IT UP, JUST TO HAVE IT HAPPEN AGAIN AND AGAIN.
THIS STRESS HAS TAKEN A TOLL ON US AS A FAMILY, IT HAS TAKEN TIME AND ENERGY AWAY FROM OUR CHILDREN AND HAS BEEN ESPECIALLY HARD DURING TIMES LIKE THESE WHEN MY HUSBAND IS DEPLOYED. HE IS AN INSTRUCTOR/SNIPER FOR THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE AND WAS DEPLOYED JANUARY 4, 2009 TO KIRKUK, IRAQ, WHICH IS HIS SECOND DEPLOYMENT IN THE LAST TWO YEARS, NEEDLESS TO SAY THESE PAST TWO YEARS HAVE BEEN THE MOST STRESSFUL AND TRYING YEARS OF OUR LIVES TOGETHER.
WE ARE INCREDIBLY RELIEVED THAT THE SUSPECT IS IN CUSTODY AND I HOPE THAT THIS LETTER HAS BEEN ABLE TO CONVEY THE HURT AND PAIN THAT THIS CRIMINAL HAS PUT OUR FAMILY THROUGH AND HOW MUCH OF OUR LIVES HE HAS TAKEN. WHILE HE IS IN CUSTODY AND NO LONGER ABLE TO USE MY HUSBANDS IDENTITY OUR WORK IS STILL NOT OVER AND IT WILL BE AT LEAST 6 MORE MONTHS IF NOT MORE BEFORE MY HUSBANDS CREDIT IS COMPLETELY CLEAR AND OUR LIVES CAN GO BACK TO NORMAL, WE ARE SO EXHAUSTED WITH THIS AND ARE READY FOR THE DAY WHEN WE ARE NO LONGER PENALIZED FOR CRIMES WHICH MY HUSBAND DID NOT COMMIT.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME, RACHEL GRIFFITH