Identity theft alleged in HD144 runoff


A candidate in the Republican runoff race for House District 144 filed a police report Monday accusing his opponent of identity theft over the disclosure of his Social Security number on a mailer.

Fred Roberts said he filed the complaint against Ken Legler over the direct mail piece, which included public records of federal tax liens involving Roberts. Those records, which were reproduced on the flier, contained Roberts’ federal tax identification number, the same as his Social Security number.

The mailer was sent to about 5,000 households, including Roberts, who saw it Friday. Roberts said he saw his picture under the heading, “He doesn’t pay his own taxes, but he wants to set state tax policy for you,” and thought that such attacks come with the political territory.

But then Roberts, a 53-year-old insurance agent, studied the piece further.

“I was looking at it and there’s my Social Security number. I went, ‘Oh, no,’ ” Roberts said.

Legler said Monday that it was a mistake to include the identifying number on the mailer. He said he learned about it Saturday at a Republican senatorial district convention and walked up to Roberts and apologized.

“We wouldn’t push anything out on purpose like that. What we were trying to put across was the taxes,” said Legler, a 50-year-old businessman.

Legler offered to pay for a service to protect Roberts from identify theft.

This may have been an honest mistake, but I think Roberts has every right to be pissed about it, and to pursue whatever legal remedies he may have available to him. Someone should have caught that before the mailer went to the printers.

By the way, this is the first story about the GOP primary for the open HD144 seat that I can recall seeing. There was probably an overview story before the March 4 primary, but that’s probably it. I didn’t even know that Roberts is being supported by the Texas Parent PAC until I read it towards the end of this piece. I realize there are hotter races than this one, but it would have been nice for this race to get a bit more visibility.

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