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


Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 20 Employers who use E-Verify must follow the proper steps and procedures when they receive a “tentative non-confirmation notice” from either the Social Security Administration or Department of Homeland Security. Failure to follow the proper procedures can cost employers both time and money. 
  • March 20

    Four Department of Commerce employees are out after their background checks resulted in security clearance denials. All four had worked high-ranking positions for months despite incomplete background checks.

  • March 15 As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, they contend with the emergence of new industries surrounding marijuana cultivation and production. 
  • March 14 In most cases, it is easy to determine where an issue might show up on a pre-employment background check. Citations for traffic violations or reckless driving charges will appear on a motor vehicle record check. Verdicts in a civil court case will show on a civil court background check. And criminal convictions—from petty theft to violent felonies—show up on criminal background checks.
  • March 13 How many years back do employment background checks go? This question can have multiple different answers depending on the situation.
  • March 13 A new bill in Florida would require landlords of apartment complexes to present tenants with verifications of employee background checks to give them peace of mind the people working in and around their homes are trustworthy.
  • March 08 Police officers working with the University of Texas at Arlington recently arrested a man who had avoided police capture on a warrant out of Oregon for nearly two decades. The man, whose real name is Daniel Charles Ray Hanson, spent those 17 years using a variety of fake names and identification documents to move around the country, often engaging with educational institutions under false pretenses. Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995. 
  • March 07

    The Future of EEOC Guidance in Texas Is Up in the Air

    The EEOC issued guidance in 2012 warning employers about the dangers of enforcing categorical policies to bar candidates with criminal histories. That guidance is not enforceable in Texas thanks to a recent court ruling.

  • March 05 Vermont is the latest state to restrict employers’ access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants. 
  • March 01 In an age of "industry disruptors" turning established business models on their heads, companies such as Uber and Lyft rely on a unique workforce of individuals outside the traditional employer-employee context. Uber calls them "partners" while other businesses refer to them as "independent contractors," the official classification these individuals use for tax purposes. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) revealed they had warned a business, Postmates, for misclassifying their staff as independent contractors. In the NLRB's determination, these individuals were employees.