Yes, you read that right. A school district in Dallas has been caught supplying fake Social Security numbers to employees. And it’s been going on for years. The Dallas News won’t come out and say it, but it’s blindingly obvious this school district was cooking up fake Social Security numbers for illegal alien teachers (referred to in the report as “foreign educators”). Which means they committed at least three crimes: ID fraud, hiring illegal aliens, and felonious aiding/abetting illegal aliens.
And then they tried to cover it up.
Years after being advised by a state agency to stop, the Dallas Independent School District continued to provide foreign citizens with fake Social Security numbers to get them on the payroll quickly.
Some of the numbers were real Social Security numbers already assigned to people elsewhere. And in some cases, the state’s educator certification office unknowingly used the bogus numbers to run criminal background checks on the new hires, most of whom were brought in to teach bilingual classes.
The practice was described in an internal report issued in September by the district’s investigative office, which looked into the matter after receiving a tip. The report said the Texas Education Agency learned of the fake numbers in 2004 and told DISD then that the practice “was illegal.”
It’s unclear how long DISD had been issuing the phony numbers, and district officials didn’t know Thursday how many had been given out. But the investigative report and interviews with DISD employees indicate the practice went on for several years before it was discontinued this past summer.
DISD human resources chief Kim Olson, who came to the district in 2007, said that she learned about the false numbers this past summer around the time the district’s investigative unit was looking into them and that she put a stop to the practice.
“There’s no way we should be doing that kind of stuff,” Ms. Olson said. “Even if your intention is good to help employees get paid, you can’t use inappropriate procedures to do that.”
Wait, it gets worse:
Also, when investigators reviewed a sampling of personnel files, they learned that the fake numbers were entered on Department of Homeland Security and IRS forms. The forms are not transmitted outside the district but are made available to the appropriate federal agency upon request.
In July, the district discovered that 26 of the false numbers were in use after matching DISD employee Social Security numbers with the Social Security Administration database. The numbers were already being used in Pennsylvania. DISD officials did not know Thursday whether the practice had caused problems for anyone holding the legitimate numbers.
The district’s investigative unit, called the Office of Professional Responsibility, began looking into the fake numbers after the Texas Education Agency’s division of educator investigations advised the unit in July that it had discovered the district issuing false numbers in 2004.
That year, the TEA division became aware of the practice when DISD faxed copies of about 100 new Social Security Administration cards for foreign citizens – most of whom had been assigned district-issued numbers – and asked TEA to replace the old numbers, according to the investigative report. The state office told DISD at the time that it’s illegal to make up Social Security numbers and pass them off as legitimate, the report says.
Wait, it gets even worse:
The investigative report also found that the district hasn’t been turning in “new hire” forms to the Texas attorney general’s office, which uses the information to find parents who haven’t paid child support. Failure to provide the forms to the attorney general can result in a $25 fine for each employee. The district doesn’t know yet whether it will have to pay any fines.
Ms. Olson said new processes have been put in place to address problems noted in the report, including making crosschecks with the Social Security Administration.
“You can’t just arbitrarily issue Social Security numbers,” she said. “Even if your intention is good, it’s not legal.”
So, will there be any consequences? Or will it be non-enforcement business as usual?