No, You May Not Use Your Dad's Identity, Court Says

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OK, son. You can have my identity. But just this once.
  • OK, son. You can have my identity. But just this once.

But daddy said I could!

Apparently, federal judges don't necessarily care what daddy says. At least when it comes to identity theft.

In an opinion released today by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, judges affirmed a lower court's decision that a Kansas City man should not have used his father's identity when setting up his business, even though the old man had permitted him to do so.

Salvador Retana, 42, admitted to using his dad's social security number in 2007 shortly after the launch of his construction business, Hunt Building Corporation, which went on to receive military contracts. Retana tried to persuade the court that the fraudulent identity wasn't stolen, but rather given to him. Like father, like son, right? I mean how different could we really be?!

According to today's opinion, Retana also used his father's social security number to open a new bank account and file certain tax papers. (Junior, you see, had a bit of a debt problem and wasn't keen on having other banks recoup any of his existing funds.)

Once the biz got off the ground, Retana paid cash wages below the applicable prevailing rate, failed to report certain payments, failed to pay unemployment insurance, employed illegal aliens and submitted false payrolls to the Department of the Navy. But that's beside the point in this ruling; Retana pleaded guilty to all those charges.

On the issue of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence, however, Retana decided to plead his case, arguing that he didn't use dad's digits "without lawful permission."

But as far as family dynamics go, the judges had a lesson for young Retana: Sometimes, dad's authority can be overridden -- by Uncle Sam.

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