Tennessee Nursing Home Employee Worked for Six Years under False Identity

By Michael Klazema on 11/1/2013

Are background checks by definition fool-proof? A recent felony case in Gallatin, Tennessee has begged that question this month. According to reports, an individual  worked at a nursing and rehab healthcare center fox six years under a falsified identity. Worse, his employer claimed that the man had undergone a full federal background check, as well as a drug test, when he came aboard at the facility in 2007. If that's the case, then how the man's false identity got through a barrier of employment screening and hiring procedures might become the topic of conversation in the background check industry throughout the coming weeks.

That he worked for six years under a false identity is alarming, but not terribly surprising on its own. After all, a recent survey reported that at least five percent of Americans are likely doing the same. Sometimes these scams are uncovered if an employer runs a background check prior to employment. But what is so surprising about this case is that, unlike many other employees working with false identification, he was supposedly cleared by a federal background check six years ago. Furthermore, he managed to sneak through a background check while being hired to a job in the caretaking industry, a profession notoriously for meticulous screening processes.

Reports from Gallatin indicate that he used a social security number that he had purchased during his time living in the town. Whether or not he presented any Social Security card identification at all-upon being hired by the Gallatin Health Care Center has not yet been revealed.

If he was swapping Social Security numbers while serving as an employee of the Gallatin HealthCareCenter, then perhaps his employer would do well to periodically re-screen longtime employees in the future. While Espinoza's employer indicated that the man was a "model employee," and was unlikely, therefore, to have held any suspicion against him for the majority of his tenure, this case serves as an endorsement for periodic re-screening of current employees. The care center rightfully screens its employees upon application, but repeated background checks would help the business to assure that its workers had remained clean.

Implementing periodic background checks may sound daunting and costly to employers, but not every check needs to be run through the federal government. Private entities like can offer online screening services every bit as effectively as state or federal institutions, and since's standard screening process includes a Social Security Validation Test, it could be the perfect way for employers to root out potential identity thieves in their midst.


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