Dealing With a Serial Name Changer TN Office of Vital Records

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Transcript Dealing With a Serial Name Changer TN Office of Vital Records

Dealing With a Serial Name Changer TN Office of Vital Records

Ramona Lainhart, PhD Associate Director Tennessee Department of Health Division of Policy Planning and Assessment

Background History 1. Dates, Background History a. Dates, number of changes, & jurisdictions where they occurred b. Progression of changes

1.

VR takes notice & the “sniff” test a. How and when it was brought to my attention i. Quantity of certificates purchased each time b. The Stall c. Investigation by Registrar i. Findings ii. Actions taken 1. Consultation w/TDH Office of General Counsel 2.

TDH AG’s office a. Further investigation & results 3. Motion to intervene a. outcome

1. Lessons Learned a. How did it happen – Why was it allowed to happen?

i. Local Judicial system: oversight or just not paying attention?

b. What measures VR has put into place.

i. All requests for name changes/corrections are reviewed by State Registrar 1. Query system – previous history?

a. Consultation with OGC b. Contact court of jurisdiction as needed ii. System alerts/flags implemented iii.

Do not issue without Registrar’s or OCG approval

BACKGROUND HISTORY – Subject born 6/1982 as R.C.A.

DATE Judge & County NAME CHANGED TO COMMENTS from Court 02/25/08 4/23/08 7/2/09 12/03/09 R.K – probate Davidson R.K – probate Davidson R.K – probate Davidson R.K – probate Davidson Volodymyr Aleksandrovych Luhchenko Vladimir Aleksandrovich Lushchenkov Volodymyr Olenksandrovych Lushchenko Vladimir Alekseyevich Lushnikov “no felony, no intent of fraud” No felony, no intent of fraud Side note for Judge: reason for petition. petitioner has encountered numerous social obstacles since modifying name to current spelling, including but not limited to simple daily irritations such as virtually no one being able to pronounce the spelling properly to more complex obstacles such as spelling contains too many characters to even fit onto driver license name space and so forth. It is undoubtedly within the reasonable best interest of petitioner to shorten, simplify and adopt a more Anglophone-friendly spelling of this name.

09/22/11 1/17/13 7/12/2013 R.K – probate, Davidson county 07/18/12 C.K.S. –Chancery, Wilson county 8/28/12 C.K.S. –Chancery, Wilson county 12/13/12 C.K.S. –Chancery, Wilson county T.E. Chancery, Williamson County Maury County 7/24/13 E.H.L. Chancery, Davidson County 2/13/14 RK – probate; Davidson Khushal Khan Nurzai Not being made for fraudulent , illegal or improper purposes Usama Khan Swati Saifullah Khan Kharoti Saifullah Khan Mehsud Not being made for fraudulent , illegal or improper purposes Not being made for fraudulent , illegal or improper purposes Not being made for fraudulent , illegal or improper purposes whatsoever Zahir Gul Samadi Denied – also charged with aggravated perjury and arrested. OHS agent in court and produced evidence that petitioner was lying. Petitioner was ordered to receive psych evaluation within 30 days and told not to change his name again.

Saifullah Khan Mehsud – Denied by State Registrar Return to birth name R.C.A.

State Registrar began investigation State Registrar processed this request

7/24/13 – staff brought to my attention; discussed and I decided we would stall him to give us time to consult Office of General Counsel. I went out and spoke to him [personal observation: spooky, set off my internal alarms, avoided looking directly at me]. I informed him that our system was currently down (it actually was) and it would be about 4 weeks before we could process this court ordered name change. He became insistent that he needed it for a job. I apologized and said he could call us in 2 weeks to check on progress. Consulted general counsel who began to investigate the documentation we provided. Customer called regularly, we continued to stall.

Early August 2013 – reported to TBI who came back and informed me that the Office of Homeland Security was already investigating (refers back to attempt to change name in Maury county 7/12/13)

9/3/13: Customer called me directly to inquire the status of his request. I told him we would not grant and the reasons (as listed in the letter below). He asked me if it was because it was a Muslim name? I replied no, it is because I believe his intent was fraudulent. I informed him he would receive a letter providing a full explanation. I sent this letter – … “this letter is to inform you that in accordance with the laws and rules governing vital records, the Office of Vital Records is unable to process your request for a name change at this time based on the following.

Since 2008, you have sought to and/or changed your name eight times with a ninth change pending. Prior to your most recent request (ordered July 24, 2013) on July 12, 2013 we understand that an attempt to change your name in Maury County was denied. The Department regulations and the Tennessee Code include the following provisions with respect to the amendment of vital records.

Rules of TN Dept. of Health Policy, Planning, and Assessment – Division of Vital Records; Rule 1200-07-01-.10 (2) (b) Amendments:

The State Registrar shall evaluate the evidence submitted in support of any amendment and, when [s]he finds reason to doubt its validity or adequacy, [s]he may reject the amendment and in writing shall advise the applicant of the reason(s) for this action.

 TCA 68-3-105(a)(1) & (2) Violation Enforcement Penalties; (1)

the State Registrar has the authority to investigate cases of irregularities or violations of laws personally or by an accredited representative. (2) When the State Registrar deems it necessary, the State Registrar shall report cases of violations of any of the provision of this chapter to the District Attorney General, who shall immediately initiate and follow up the necessary court proceedings against the person alleged to be responsible for the violation of law.

TCA 68-3-203(e) Amendment of Records:

… or when the State Registrar has reasona ble cause to question the validity or adequacy of the applicant’s sworn statement or the documentary evidence… the State Registrar shall not amend the vital record and shall advise applicant of the reason for this actions.

By the authority granted me under TCA, I am conducting an investigation based on the fact that I believe that this name change may be for fraudulent and/or improper purposes. You will be notified of the outcome at the completion of the investigation. We are processing a refund…

Late August 2013,Senior Counsel for Attorney General, TN DOH brought motion to intervene and set aside name change order. 11/8/13 – Our motion was granted! The judge, as part of this order, also ordered that a copy of the order be forwarded to the District Attorney for Davidson County for his determination as to criminal prosecution. NOTE: The judge who granted our motion was the same judge who granted the change order July 24, 2013.

Conclusion: Mr. Samadi came back to us on February 13, 2014 with a court order to restore his birth name of R.C.A. Initially, we did not make the amendment. I told customer that I would have to investigate this and would get back to him. His mother called me on her son’s behalf to say that he had received psychiatric inpatient treatment and that he was doing better now and only wanted his birth name back. After consultation with AG’s Senior Counsel and our General Counsel, we complied with the court order and restored his birth name. His record has now been flagged to alert State Registrar before any action is taken with this record.

Lessons learned & internal QA measures taken  Staff now research all requests for name changes not related to adoption, marriage, or divorce. Changes in excess of two are brought to the State Registrar for review before amending records.  Anyone purchasing more than 5 copies of long form birth certificates at any one time are reported to the State Registrar. The State Registrar reports all such purchases by foreign born customers to the State Department – Fraud Prevention Program.  TN is in the process of revising rules and has included a provision for prohibiting the purchase of more than 5 long form birth certificates at any one time.

The End

Thank You Ramona Lainhart, PhD.

Tennessee Department of Health Division of Policy Planning and Assessment