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.


Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • June 20 Repeat background checks are becoming more common, with companies in India leading the charge. What does this trend look like, and how can employers embrace it now to stay ahead of the curve?
  • June 19

    Every federal job involves a background check of some kind. These background checks and how they are evaluated vary based on job, department, and security clearance level.

  • June 18

  • June 14 Ban the box laws aim to improve opportunities for employment. Could they have the opposite effect instead?
  • June 13 Jacobs Petroleum Products is a regional petroleum company that operates throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Apart from their employees carrying much responsibility and have frequent contact with customers, the company’s hiring also tends to be segmented since individual store managers are responsible for hiring talent for their own stores. In this employment landscape, Jacobs Petroleum Products needed a reliable and effective way to screen its new hires for criminal infractions and other red flags.
  • June 12

    The University of Wisconsin System may tweak its hiring and reference check processes. The potential changes come after one of UW’s assistant deans was accused of sexual harassment.

  • June 07 Stories of abuse by coaches in youth sports leagues continue to crop up around the country, but rules and guidelines remain patchy and enforcement is often lacking. The struggle to implement an effective system continues nationwide.
  • June 07 Financial background checks, usually referred to as credit history checks, can be an effective way to find out if a candidate is fit to handle accounts, financial data, and other assets at your business.
  • June 06 The Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute recently commissioned a survey to find out how willing employers were to hire people with criminal records. The study indicates that managers, HR professionals, and employees themselves are becoming more comfortable with the idea of hiring and working with ex-offenders.
  • June 04 Are fingerprint background checks the gold standard for employee screening, or are they overhyped? We look at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding these checks.