City Garbage Truck Driver with Criminal History Caught Stealing City Time

By Michael Klazema on 4/2/2012

At a time when cities across the country are low on funds, they can’t afford to have any employee shirking responsibilities, let alone using city time and resources to take care of their own personal business.  In Albuquerque, New Mexico though, a city garbage truck driver was caught doing just that.  While on the clock, it was found that he was running a tire recycling business out of the city’s truck.  At certain points along his garbage pick-up route, shop owners would dump tires, and the city employee, Rick Koppos, would charge a fee to pick them up.  Upon investigating his activities, which later led to conviction, they found Koppos had a previous felony conviction on his record for the embezzlement of over $14,000 from a former employer.  It turns out, Koppos was hired before the city’s background check process was put in place for new hires, so nobody found out about his criminal history.

Although the current city administration claims to believe strongly in using background checks for some new hires, they do not plan to check current employees who have been with the city since before those requirements were put in place, because it would be “difficult.”  In fact, many of their positions still do not require a background check of any kind.  Instead, these checks are carried out on a case-by-case basis.  They didn’t explain the rationale for which employees would receive background checks and who wouldn’t.  This means there may be other criminals in their employment who will also slip under the radar and who could potentially be committing crimes that cost the city money.

The background check process does not have to be “difficult” though.  There are many reputable background check companies who offer cost-effective packages that are both instant and easy to carry out.  By using an instant product like US OneSEARCH for instance, the city could search 400 million criminal records across all 50 states with a single search.  With nothing more than a name social security number and a date of birth, they could search US AliasSEARCH, giving them quick and easy access to criminal records that may be harder to find due to name changes.  By partnering with an experienced company like, city organizations could work with professionals to tailor an affordable package that isn’t too “difficult” to carry out on all employees, whether current or newly hired.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services.  Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit


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