Undocumented Immigrant Accused of Murder Passed Government Background Check that did not Use E-Verify

Three Applicants on Screen

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

An “undocumented immigrant” accused of murdering a 20-year-old college student in Iowa gave his employer false information to pass a government background check that did not use the federal E-Verify employment eligibility verification system in order to get a job, according to a report from the Des Moines Register.

The Des Moines Register reports that Yarabee Farms, the employer of the suspect Cristhian Rivera, initially said Rivera “was vetted through the government’s E-Verify system, and was an employee in good standing.” Farm officials later stated they did not use E-Verify and that Rivera had given them false information.

Rivera, 24, is accused of causing the tragic death of Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student who disappeared while jogging on the night of July 18, 2018. The body of a young woman believed to be Tibbetts was found in a cornfield in Poweshiek County, Iowa on August 21, 2018, The Des Moines Register reports.

Yarrabee Farms was not registered in the E-Verify system, which is a requirement to run a background check on an employee, according to The Des Moines Register, and investigators said that Rivera, who worked at several farms for four years, was in the United States without proper legal documentation.

In a related story, a suspected “Rideshare Rapist” arrested for allegedly raping four women in San Francisco, California while posing as a rideshare driver also fraudulently represented himself to pass a background check to work for ridesharing firm Lyft even though he was an undocumented immigrant.

“Individuals who drive for Lyft must be eligible to work in the United States,” a Lyft spokeswoman said in a statement about suspect Orlando Vilchez Lazo, who has been charged with kidnapping and raping four women between 2013 and 2018. “In this circumstance, this person fraudulently represented themself.”

Evading a background check is not easy, according to Brad Landin, president and chief compliance officer for Employment Screening Resources® (ESR). Landin is a background screening industry veteran who was interviewed for an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the “Rideshare Rapist” case.

“If someone is bound and determined, they could probably circumvent it by acquiring a Social Security number, adopting a name, somehow creating a history, employment, using friends as (pseudo) employment references – putting together a whole background,” Landin told The Chronicle.

However, Landin said that type of elaborate ruse is “fairly rare” and explained that while using another person’s Social Security number is common among undocumented immigrants and finding a fake driver’s license is relatively easy, a more thorough background check should uncover such deceptions.

Landin said a screening industry best practice is to use E-Verify to confirm the eligibility of employees to work in the United States. “It identifies any discrepancy and then requires the applicant to rectify that in person,” he explained. “It’s the most definite way to identify people who cannot legally work in the U.S.”

E-Verify helps employers verify the identity and employment eligibility of employees by matching information provided by employees on the ‘Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification’ against records available to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

ESR Offers E-Verify Solutions for Employers

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – offers Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers to verify work status and electronically capture and retain Form I-9 information. To learn more, please visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Form-I-9-E-Verify/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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