DOC: Investigator missed prison guard’s prior convictions

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An investigator who reviewed a former Indiana corrections officer’s employment application failed to spot his convictions in New York for attempted murder, robbery, burglary and kidnapping because he changed his name while in prison, a Department of Correction spokesman says.

“As best we’re able to reconstruct it, the investigator just missed these guys were one in the same,” Doug Garrison told The (Anderson) Herald Bulletin. “Since that time we have redoubled our efforts.”

Kwame Abdul-Haqq, 52, of Anderson was charged Wednesday in a federal indictment with defrauding the state of Indiana out of $175,000 he was paid while working from 2007 until 2015 at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison about 35 miles northeast of Indianapolis. The indictment alleges he lied about his criminal record.

Abdul-Haqq has not been taken into custody. He doesn’t have a listed phone number and could not be reached for comment. Court records do not indicate if Abdul-Haqq has an attorney. He is scheduled to appear in court on July 21.

Garrison said all job candidates are processed through a third-party provider that checks Indiana criminal records, driving records and the sex offender registry. They also run a check through the Indiana Data and Communications System, which integrates information from national crime databases. Additionally, the background check includes a review of whether the applicant is on the DOC’s own facility visitor list for offenders, as well as reference checks. Fingerprints are taken on the first day.

The indictment states Abdul-Haqq was convicted under his birth name, Robert Borum, but legally changed his name in 1993, while he serving a sentence at Sing Sing in Ossining, New York. Garrison said the investigator who reviewed Abdul-Haqq’s application for employment missed the convictions because of the name change.

But Don Kinnan, a McCordsville private investigator, told The Indianapolis Star a search of the man’s Social Security number should have turned up two different names, which he said is a red flag. Kinnan also said the legal name change is a public record and should come up if an agency conducts a national background check.

“So my question is, ‘How thorough of a search did they do?'” Kinnan said.

 

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