Will this be the end to the long-running saga? Nate A. Miller reports: A Larimer District Court judge has put a formal end to efforts on the part of Weld District Attorney Ken Buck and Weld County Sheriff John Cooke to crack down on illegal immigration and identity theft using records from a Greeley tax preparer. In a decision Tuesday, District Judge Stephen Schapanski made permanent a temporary injunction issued against Buck and Cooke in April. The ruling directs the Weld County court clerk to destroy all copies of information obtained from the search and seizure of tax files from Amalia’s Translation & Tax Service in Greeley in 2008. Weld authorities also are forbidden from using any information learned from the contents of those files. Read more in the Greeley Tribune.
Monte Whaley of The Denver Post reports: Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck is asking the Colorado Court of Appeals to overturn a judge’s decision that stopped his investigation of identity theft involving illegal immigrants. […] Weld sheriff’s deputies in October searched Amalia’s Translation and Tax Service in Greeley, where they took more than 5,000 files of tax records. About 100 people were arrested on fraud charges after the records were seized; some of them were deported. But the American Civil Liberties Union sued Buck and Weld Sheriff John Cooke, saying the search of Amalia Cerrillo’s tax preparation office was illegal and a violation of privacy rights. Read more in The Denver Post.
CBS reports: Sensitive information detailing the military careers of dozens of U.S. veterans, social security numbers and pension applications was mailed to a Weld County man who is also a veteran. That mix-up can be traced back to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Lakewood. The agency is in charge of processing disability claims for veterans. Now its implicated in a security breach impacting as many as 150 veterans. Wayne Hayden is a Korean War veteran. He has been battling the Veterans Administration over a claim for the past seven years. He claims to have lost his house, his health and his hope. That’s when Hayden received the boxes in the mail which contained all the paperwork for his claim with the VA. Then he noticed something else. “When I opened the first box and started going through it I found some names and Social Security numbers of other soldiers I was stationed with,” said Hayden. The Veterans Administration office in Lakewood had mailed Hayden 30 pages of names and Social Security numbers, transfer orders and promotion lists of other veterans. There was even an application for a pension that didn’t belong to Hayden. Read more on CBS.
Howard Pankratz reports: A probe of one of the biggest identity theft cases in Colorado history will be undertaken by two grand juries although the ACLU of Colorado says it is “highly likely” it will challenge the legality of the investigation. The grand jury probe stems from the seizure last October of 4,900 tax files from Amalia’s Translation and Tax Service in Greeley by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office. After a search warrant was approved by Weld County District Court Judge Marcelo Kopcow, the tax service was raided on Oct. 17. […] In a letter to Klein, [Colorado ACLU legal director Mark] Silverstein said it is “highly likely” that the ACLU will file a civil lawsuit on behalf of Cerrillo seeking the return or destruction of copies of the materials seized from her business. “We are concerned about what appears to be an illegal search and seizure and an illegal invasion of the constitutional rights not only of Amalia but also her 5,000 clients and customers,” said Silverstein. “I’m referring to the search and seizure of the 49 boxes of files and all of her computers, all of the hard drives, all of the CDs and all of the floppy discs,” Silverstein added. Read more in The Denver Post
The Miami Herald reports that 20,000 members of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Tribes in Montana were notified that their personal information was on an unencrypted hard drive stolen from a Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement vehicle in Big Horn County. The unencrypted device contained names, addresses, birthdates and tribal enrollment information for members of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Tribes. BIA Director Weldon Bruce Loudermilk said in a letter to tribal members that he was confident the hard drive was not accessed and no information was compromised. The theft occurred December 4, and it’s not totally clear whether they recovered the drive from the report. Did the employee violate policy and protocol by having unencrypted data in an unattended vehicle? What were the consequences to the employee, if any? There doesn’t seem to be any breach notification on BIA’s web site that I can find, and the report says that AP obtained a copy of the notification letter, suggesting that this wasn’t posted publicly. Read more on the Miami Herald.