Houston Criminal Law Blog

EXPERIENCED. AGGRESSIVE. HOUSTON CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW FIRM: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp

Federal Agents Use Facial Scans to Catch Fraud Suspects

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Facial-scans-lead-to-suspects-in-luxury-car-scam-2151545.php

This week federal agents used a new technology to catch two Romanian men suspected of fraud.  The two men allegedly used a website to advertise luxury cars they did not actually own or have possession of.  The cars were advertised at dramatically discounted rates.  Customers were required to wire money to one of the two men’s various bank accounts before the cars could be shipped.

Federal authorities caught a break in the case when they used a new facial scan technology to identify the men.  About five years ago, the Government began embedding special microchips into the visas of immigrants.  The chips contain “biometric identifiers” of each immigrant, and can purportedly be used to conclusively identify someone based on a photograph.  Authorities found a bank security video which showed the two men making a transaction at a local bank, and then used the new facial scan technology to identify them.

Scientific evidence is admissible in court only when it is proven to be reliable.  The reason for this is obvious:  evidence which seems scientific can be very persuasive to a jury, but a jury may have a hard time deciding what is good science, and what is junk science.  Therefore before scientific evidence is shown to a jury, a judge must decide whether it is even reliable in the first place.  New scientific evidence, such as this facial scan technology, often causes differences of opinion in terms of its admissibility, and it may be several yeas before Courts of Appeal make a final decision.

It is the job of defense attorneys to challenge all of the Government’s evidence.  It would be an injustice for an innocent person to be convicted on the basis of faulty scientific evidence.  One need only look at the many recent exonerations that have come about because of retesting of forensic material such as blood.  In many cases it was found that the tests conducted were unreliable, or that the outcomes of the tests had been falsified by police friendly lab technicians.

If you or a loved one has been accused of a theft, the consequences can be dire.  You can be punished by a fine and/or jail time, but more importantly the conviction will be on your record for the rest of your life.  Theft is classified as a crime of moral turpitude, and can affect you in many different ways.  You will never be allowed to serve on a jury again, and you may not be allowed to hold certain jobs.  If you are an immigrant it will affect your status in this country.  That is why it is important to have experienced counsel fighting for your rights.  Call the Law Office of The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp today for a free consultation.

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