On July 26th, the LA Times reported on the arrest of a Pakistani native, Shamsha Laiwalla, in Los Angeles. Ms. Laiwalla, the owner of a vehicle registration company, is accused of being the architect of an extensive fraud ring involving DMV employees in at least three states. Ms. Laiwalla, when approached by an undercover LAPD officer posing as an illegal immigrant, allegedly claimed that she could get a valid driver’s license, a forged birth certificate and a Social Security card, bearing the name Francisco Gonzales Rios for $3500.
Ms. Laiwalla’s illegal service had been in operation for years and it is unknown how many thousands of people she obtained false documents for. It is also feared that her operation may have ties to terrorist groups in her native Pakistan.
This is not the first story of its kind. It is a problem faced by any company whose employees have access to sensitive information or intellectual property and underscores the need to do proper due diligence when hiring people for such positions. Many companies do background checks that amount to little more than an internet search, a criminal record search of the state in which the candidate currently lives and calling the references offered by the candidate who is being screened. This type of search is not likely to turn up the kind of information which could tip you off that a person has bad credit and is deeply in debt and vulnerable to exploitation or the temptation to steal or embezzle, or that the person has a bad reputation with former co-workers or landlords who can legally tell you things that a former employer can not, or that the person has a criminal record in states where they don’t currently live. Spending the time and money to do an extensive background check, complete with a reputation check and a full criminal and civil court record screening in all states, prior to hiring an employee can save a company a lot of money, embarrassment and loss of reputation in the long run.