A 37-year-old woman was discovered working in a San Diego janitorial service using the Social Security number of a San Bernardino 12-year-old. Tony Shin has this exclusive story.
Mayra Tejeda never imagined her 12-year-old daughter Lizette could be a victim of identity theft.
"I just can't believe someone would do something like this,"Tejeda said by phone from her home in San Bernardino County.
Tejeda discovered the theft when she applied for government aid and a worker asked her if she sold her daughter's Social Security number to someone. The worker then informed Tejeda that Lizette had a work history that dated back to 2002.
"Lizette was only about three years old," said Tejeda.
Escondido Police got involved because the person who allegedly stole the number lives within city limits.
Investigators were able to link the Social Security number to a worker at ABM Janitorial in Kearny Mesa.
"Detectives were able to contact the company's human resources and they were very cooperative, helped us find the suspect and she was arrested and charged with identity theft," said Lt. Craig Carter.
Imelda Martinez-Hernandez, 37, is now being held at Vista Detention Facility.
"All she was doing was using a Social Security number to get a job, what it ends up doing is it cause this 12 year old to clean up that mess and that can take several years," Lt. Carter said.
Tejeda is now trying to investigate how much her daughter's credit has been damaged by the theft.
"I'm more concerned about her in the future, you know," she said. "Her trying to go to school or getting her first car, anything like that."
Tejeda says other parents should check their kid's credit rating periodically to prevent this from happening to them.