(Source: CBS 5 News) Joyce Corrales has a felony record because her identity was stolen by her sister, and has been turned down for jobs and housing because she can't get her record expunged.
(Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice) Jolean Booth Costello has spent the past 22 years in a Texas prison. A felony record, however, follows her sister, whose name, birth date and social security number Costello used when she was arrested.
Joyce Corrales says she has spent her life fighting to protect her younger sister, Jolean Booth Costello.
"I would never do anything to hurt her," said Corrales, a Valley woman. "I don't understand why she would do this to me."
Corrales' nightmare started in 1989, when Costello was arrested for injuring an elderly person with a weapon. Costello gave police her sister's name, date of birth and social security number. Somehow, Corrales became victimized by the same system designed to protect people like her while her sister slipped through the Texas prison system, spending the last 22 years under Corrales' identity.
"It's a nightmare. It's really a nightmare," Corrales said. "I always worry when I do get a job that this is going to come out."
Corrales has been turned down for jobs, housing and faced embarrassing questions because background checks reveal she is a convicted felon, though she has never been arrested or found guilty of a crime.
Corrales has found it hard to convince a potential employer or landlord of her innocence when the actions of her sister have branded her for life.
Having your identity restored is virtually impossible, according to ID theft experts, once it has been entered into the national system as another person, where it remains an "also known as" (AKA).
This unusual form of identity theft might seem rare. But a yearlong CBS 5 Investigation uncovered instances across the United States.
Claude Dean Hull is a serial rapist who left a trail of victims from California to Arizona and Florida. Yet, he's listed on the Florida Department of Corrections website as Alan Hoff - an alias he plucked from a wallet he had stolen while on the run.
In Arizona, the problems are just beginning for Ryan Twyman after his best friend Jason Tasker gave police Twyman's name when he was arrested in Flagstaff for a series of burglaries, grand theft auto and felony flight.
"He was my son's best man in February," said Stephanie Twyman, Ryan's mother. "He was basically a friend of the family. My mom knew him. All the kids knew him."
Less than 24 hours after Tasker's arrest, police were able to determine he used his best friend's identity, but the problems were only beginning for Twyman.
"My husband got on the computer and called Coconino (County Sheriff's Office) and told them you have the wrong guy," said Twyman. "That's Jason Tasker not Ryan Twyman."
But the damage was irreversible and "this arrest will follow him forever," said Rex Gilliand, operations commander of the Coconino County Sheriff's Office.
Local police are the first in a series of checks and balances aimed at verifying a suspect's true identity.
"To a large degree we rely on old-school investigative methods as well as modern technology," Gilliand said.
All arrests in Arizona are entered into a central clearinghouse at the Department of Public Safety.
"It's on a regular basis the majority of criminals will use more than one name," said Amber Sliwimski, a fingerprint technician with DPS.
Fingerprint techs evaluate thousands of fingerprints every week, manually matching up what the computer will not. But once a person's name is in the system, it will remain there forever, regardless of whether local police correct it.
"If they give us a wrong name and we determine in the future who they really are, it's always going to be listed as an AKA as to who they said they were the first time they were arrested," Sliwimski said.
ID theft victims will remain just that - victims. Meanwhile, attempts to reveal the true identity of the real criminals continue in the court and at prison.
Despite these measures, people still slip through the system.
Corrales has kept every letter her sister wrote her from prison during the last 22 years. Some letters are heartbreaking.
"Joyce, I really do want us to be sisters again," Corrales read from her sister's letter. "I have truly missed you and I truly love you."
Another letter might be considered a confession.
"To whom this may concern," Corrales reads. "My name is not Joyce Ann Braxton. My real name is Jolean Booth Costello."
But all these letters add up to a lifetime of pain and embarrassment because her sister didn't just steal Corrales' identity, she stole her life.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5(Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
By H. Gilbert Welch, Special to CNN updated 8:12 AM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013Editor's note: H. Gilbert Welch is a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical PracticeMore >
I first saw the headline early Tuesday on Real Clear Politics, a political news site where I generally start my morning. It's not where I expect to see a story on breast cancer.
Monday, May 20 2013 9:26 AM EDT2013-05-20 13:26:31 GMT
South Windsor police arrested a man after a brutal beating.Police said 48-year-old Gary Wright was arrested after being accused of assaulting a woman in a bowling alley parking lot.Police said the unidentifiedMore >
South Windsor police arrested a man after a brutal beating.More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:37 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:37:33 GMT
The remains found in a wooded area in Trumbull on Friday have been identified as missing Eastern Connecticut State University student Alyssiah Wiley. Investigators said the discovery was made along QuarryMore >
State police have arrested 30-year-old Jermaine Richards, of Bridgeport, in connection with the death of missing Eastern Connecticut State University student Alyssiah WileyMore >
Monday, May 20 2013 5:11 AM EDT2013-05-20 09:11:12 GMT
Happy Saturday, Rain is on its way – as expected – but it will not hamper the entire weekend. Early this morning, there will be low clouds, fog and drizzle in many parts of Connecticut. This will haveMore >
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:43 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:43:07 GMT
Posted: May 19, 2013 4:13 PM EDT Updated: May 19, 2013 4:13 PM EDT FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - A 21-year-old Fairfield University student from Massachusetts has died after a car crash a day before heMore >
A 21-year-old Fairfield University student from Massachusetts has died after a car crash a day before he was to graduate.More >
Thursday, May 16 2013 3:45 PM EDT2013-05-16 19:45:11 GMT
Police arrested a Toronto woman, who was trying to get into the charity polo match in Greenwich where Prince Harry was playing.According to police, Wen Qi, 36, was trying to enter the Conyers Farms PoloMore >
Police arrested a Toronto woman, who was trying to get into the charity polo match in Greenwich where Prince Harry was playing.More >