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Old 11th September 2011, 04:08 PM   #1
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Jose Alvarez "Carlos" arrested for Identity Theft

Sad news that "Jose Alvarez" of Carlos fame--who faked being a channeler in Australia in one of Randi's most famous coups, has been arrested by the US government for identity theft and passport fraud. It goes without saying that he is innocent until proven guilty, but I will say it anyway. The name "Jose Alvarez" is in quotes because the Feds claim to not actually know his name, and are referring to him as FNU LNU (First Name Unknown Last Name Unknown).

This is the most detailed article I could find on the subject
.

According to the article, the allegations are that "Alvarez" applied for a US Passport under a fake identity and renewed the passport numerous times. Apparently there is a "real" Jose Alvarez in New York with the same date of birth and social security number, and the whole issue was brought to light when the "real" Alvarez applied for a US passport to attend his sister's wedding in Jamaica.

The article describes some of the impact that this has had on the "real" Alvarez.

Quote:
Alvarez, a teacher's aide from the Bronx, said he has suspected for several years that someone had stolen his identity — he said he's been dunned by the IRS for taxes he didn't owe on income in Florida, that his bank account has periodically been frozen and that he had difficulty renewing his driver's license.
He's had to repeatedly prove he is who he says he is, brandishing his New York driver's license and a birth certificate, as well as his employment record. He also missed his sister's wedding because he could not get a passport in time.
"I was in big trouble with the IRS, and it was because of him," the New Yorker said. "It caused me all kinds of problems."
So it was a relief when he got a call from an FBI agent Thursday, saying the man who may have stolen his identity was in custody.
What I find most interesting about this is that even though the "real" Alvarez apparently had issues with someone else using his social security number for years, and had bank accounts frozen, etc, nobody in law enforcement--on a local, state, or federal level--had the wits to figure out what was going on years ago and actually do something about it. To me that raises the sliver of possibility that the feds got things wrong, and that FNU LNU might actually be innocent of wrongdoing--although from my experience the feds don't generally go so far as to arrest somebody and have them held without bail unless they have an open and shut case.

Whatever the actual truth is, this is not a good day for skepticism.
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Old 11th September 2011, 04:51 PM   #2
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I'm not sure I see it the way you do.

He was an actor in a role. The "player" in the Carlos drama was Randi. The fact that the guy who played the psychic is less than pristine has no bearing on the overall Carlos story.

If Mel Gibson's a miscreant anti-semite, does it diminish the actual life of Wallace or anyone else he's portrayed in a film?
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Old 11th September 2011, 05:07 PM   #3
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I don't think the relevance to his role in the Carlos story is the issue here. What *is* the issue is that a close associate of James Randi's is in jail and accused of identity theft - a very serious charge.

I don't think anyone, even if Alvarez turns out to be guilty, would think less of Randi for this...still, it's an unfortunate situation.
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Old 11th September 2011, 05:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by TsarBomba View Post
Whatever the actual truth is, this is not a good day for skepticism.

I don't see this as a bad day for skepticism, but it certainly is not a good day for "Alvarez" or James Randi.

Quote:
Alvarez has lived at Randi's home for at least two decades, has traveled the world for seminars and has established himself as an internationally renowned artist, said Susan Dmitrovsky, a defense attorney for Alvarez. She said everyone has known him as Jose Luis Alvarez for years.
He's certainly been a familiar presence--from my own experience-- to people who've attended major skeptical events.
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Old 11th September 2011, 05:20 PM   #5
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I posted this story relatively early this morning from a tip from someone who wishes to not be disclosed. I think that person got it from someone who may hold a grudge against skepticism. Many antiskeptics rejoice at such news, I suspect.

Here is the link. Doubtful News You will find that one of these antiskeptics has commented.

I was not happy to post it but it was news that I thought people should know - I mean, they would find out eventually. Best be prepared. The story was apparently a few days old.

I don't feel that the point of our site is to debate. But I feel that something should be said about this commenter. The trolls will troll, I know.... Any advice?
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Old 11th September 2011, 05:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by idoubtit View Post
I posted this story relatively early this morning from a tip from someone who wishes to not be disclosed. I think that person got it from someone who may hold a grudge against skepticism. Many antiskeptics rejoice at such news, I suspect.

Here is the link. Doubtful News You will find that one of these antiskeptics has commented.

I was not happy to post it but it was news that I thought people should know - I mean, they would find out eventually. Best be prepared. The story was apparently a few days old.

I don't feel that the point of our site is to debate. But I feel that something should be said about this commenter. The trolls will troll, I know.... Any advice?
That guy's comment is so off-base and filled with logical fallacies, half-truths, non-truths, and non-sequiturs, that I say you just ignore it. Haters gonna hate.
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Old 11th September 2011, 05:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TsarBomba View Post
That guy's comment is so off-base and filled with logical fallacies, half-truths, non-truths, and non-sequiturs....
Hey I should reply with that!
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Old 11th September 2011, 06:28 PM   #8
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So that's it then?

Skeptics have been wrong all along, psi phenomena exit and John Edward is not the Biggest Douche in the Universe?

I'm certainly glad that's settled.

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Old 11th September 2011, 08:03 PM   #9
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We at the James Randi Educational Foundation are shocked by the sudden arrest of James Randi's beloved longtime partner, Jose Alvarez. Many of us have known Jose for years, both as a friend and as an ally to our cause who has traveled around the world to promote skepticism and critical thinking. Our thoughts are with Jose and Randi in this difficult time, and we hope they will be quickly reunited.
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Old 11th September 2011, 08:14 PM   #10
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My thoughts are with any wronged parties, whether they are incorrectly accused, lied to or had their identity stolen.
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Old 11th September 2011, 08:20 PM   #11
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I've always really liked him; I'm hoping this is just a big misunderstanding.
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Old 11th September 2011, 08:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Alan View Post
My thoughts are with any wronged parties, whether they are incorrectly accused, lied to or had their identity stolen.
Indeed.
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Old 11th September 2011, 09:28 PM   #13
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Certainly an unfortunate turn of events
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Old 11th September 2011, 09:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Alan View Post
My thoughts are with any wronged parties, whether they are incorrectly accused, lied to or had their identity stolen.

Indeed. Agree completely.
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Old 11th September 2011, 10:25 PM   #15
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You know, even never did deliver those crystals I ordered.
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Old 11th September 2011, 10:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by TsarBomba View Post
the Feds claim to not actually know his name, and are referring to him as FNU LNU (First Name Unknown Last Name Unknown).
There's some guy in China who's in BIG trouble...
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Old 12th September 2011, 08:00 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by AdMan View Post
I don't see this as a bad day for skepticism, but it certainly is not a good day for "Alvarez" or James Randi.

I was thinking the same thing.
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Old 12th September 2011, 08:55 AM   #18
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This could all be some sort of wacky misunderstanding, but somehow I doubt it.

So if he's not Jose Alvarez, who is he?
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Old 12th September 2011, 10:12 AM   #19
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An illegal immigrant, apparently.
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Old 12th September 2011, 10:14 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Beady View Post
An illegal immigrant, apparently.
That would be my guess.
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Old 12th September 2011, 10:46 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
So if he's not Jose Alvarez, who is he?
Wouldn't it be really funny if it turned out his real name was Carlos?
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Old 12th September 2011, 11:38 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
There's some guy in China who's in BIG trouble...
Interestingly enough, I once worked as an assistant public defender in Baltimore. When I started with misdemeanor and traffic cases, I started reading all these police reports where a witness would simply give a first name, and the police would put LNU after the first name. After about a week I came to the conclusion that there must have been a large family of Asian criminals in Baltimore, the LNU family. I mentioned this to my boss, and boy did he have a good laugh.
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Old 12th September 2011, 11:40 AM   #23
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Oh dear. I knew Jose. He's a sweet man, and a talented artist.

I sincerely hope that this is all resolved in a positive way.
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Old 12th September 2011, 11:55 AM   #24
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Oh dear is right. I have met him several times & he is a nice chap. I certainly hope this all comes out in the wash.
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Old 12th September 2011, 01:39 PM   #25
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Thanks to the opening poster for posting this; I had no idea and wouldn't have for a while, but I've been doing some work now to find out more and what can be done. My heart goes out to Jose, and Randi as well.
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Old 13th September 2011, 03:40 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by MoeFaux View Post
My heart goes out to Jose, and Randi as well.
What about the poor sod whose life he disrupted? From my perspective, "Jose" is a felon on at least two counts, and one of those counts involves a victim. He knowingly and consciously, and apparently uncaringly, victimized another person. More than that, he conned everyone who knew him. Your heart goes out to him?

The only "positive outcome" I can see is a five-year stint in prison, followed by being booted back to wherever he came from and a perpetual bar from ever again entering the U.S.

BTW, let's not forget that he manipulated Randi into unknowingly (I hope) harboring an illegal alien, thereby possibly exposing Randi to all kinds of nasty consequences.
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Old 13th September 2011, 03:47 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Beady View Post
What about the poor sod whose life he disrupted? From my perspective, "Jose" is a felon on at least two counts, and one of those counts involves a victim. He knowingly and consciously, and apparently uncaringly, victimized another person. More than that, he conned everyone who knew him. Your heart goes out to him?

The only "positive outcome" I can see is a five-year stint in prison, follwed by being booted back to wherever he came from and a perpetual bar from ever again entering the U.S.
Perhaps there should be some means of first of all verifying that he is indeed guilty of all that you say he is, we could call it say a trail?
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Old 13th September 2011, 04:00 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Beady View Post
What about the poor sod whose life he disrupted? From my perspective, "Jose" is a felon on at least two counts, and one of those counts involves a victim. He knowingly and consciously, and apparently uncaringly, victimized another person. More than that, he conned everyone who knew him. Your heart goes out to him?

The only "positive outcome" I can see is a five-year stint in prison, followed by being booted back to wherever he came from and a perpetual bar from ever again entering the U.S.

BTW, let's not forget that he manipulated Randi into unknowingly (I hope) harboring an illegal alien, thereby possibly exposing Randi to all kinds of nasty consequences.
Allegedly.
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Old 13th September 2011, 04:02 AM   #29
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I've said this before. We don't know the full facts of the case, and unless we are an attorney or judge involved with the case, we probably never will. It's best that we not speculate on the basis of almost no information. Let's wait and see how it pans out.
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Old 13th September 2011, 04:31 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Perhaps there should be some means of first of all verifying that he is indeed guilty of all that you say he is, we could call it say a trail?
Fair enough. Put a "If he *is* guilty..." in front of what I said. While presuming innocence for the moment, we still shouldn't assume a false perspective.
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Old 13th September 2011, 05:23 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Beady View Post
Fair enough. Put a "If he *is* guilty..." in front of what I said. While presuming innocence for the moment, we still shouldn't assume a false perspective.
Oh I agree and from the information we have it isn't looking good but we should keep in mind that even in very high profile cases (such as the ex-head of the IMF) arrest and charged is not always the same as guilty.
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Old 13th September 2011, 06:44 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Perhaps there should be some means of first of all verifying that he is indeed guilty of all that you say he is, we could call it say a trail?
Hmmmm....I'm not following you. Please explain further.
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Old 13th September 2011, 06:45 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I've said this before. We don't know the full facts of the case, and unless we are an attorney or judge involved with the case, we probably never will. It's best that we not speculate on the basis of almost no information. Let's wait and see how it pans out.
What fun is that?
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Old 13th September 2011, 12:33 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Beady View Post
What about the poor sod whose life he disrupted? From my perspective, "Jose" is a felon on at least two counts, and one of those counts involves a victim. He knowingly and consciously, and apparently uncaringly, victimized another person. More than that, he conned everyone who knew him. Your heart goes out to him?
Yes. I'm sure if you had a friend who was in this situation you'd be more inclined to feel sympathy for the friend than for the other individual involved. If that's beyond your understanding, then feel free to sod off and feel badly for the NY man. But this involves people I care about and knew personally, so there's nothing at all wrong with feeling more for them than for the alleged victim. It's natural for me to feel for my friends. Human nature and all.
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Old 13th September 2011, 02:32 PM   #35
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One also has to note how victimized said victim was. He hadn't noticed anything until he applied for a passport, so one assumes that... uh, "Carlos" I guess, hadn't been ruining his credit or anything.

It sucks to have someone pretend to be you, but so far this isn't really twitching my sympathy buttons.
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Old 13th September 2011, 02:36 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Aoidoi View Post
One also has to note how victimized said victim was. He hadn't noticed anything until he applied for a passport, so one assumes that... uh, "Carlos" I guess, hadn't been ruining his credit or anything.

That's not quite true.

From the article linked in the OP:

Quote:
Alvarez, a teacher's aide from the Bronx, said he has suspected for several years that someone had stolen his identity — he said he's been dunned by the IRS for taxes he didn't owe on income in Florida, that his bank account has periodically been frozen and that he had difficulty renewing his driver's license.

He's had to repeatedly prove he is who he says he is, brandishing his New York driver's license and a birth certificate, as well as his employment record. He also missed his sister's wedding because he could not get a passport in time.

"I was in big trouble with the IRS, and it was because of him," the New Yorker said. "It caused me all kinds of problems."
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Old 13th September 2011, 02:44 PM   #37
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Quote:
he said he's been dunned by the IRS for taxes he didn't owe on income in Florida, that his bank account has periodically been frozen and that he had difficulty renewing his driver's license.
With his bank account periodically frozen, he's lucky he didn't die of an infected tooth.
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Old 13th September 2011, 07:29 PM   #38
RemieV
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This is getting way fewer comments than I would've imagined. Is everyone out there terrified, or is it just not very interesting somehow?
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Old 13th September 2011, 07:53 PM   #39
Matthew Best
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I never heard of this person before so I don't have anything to say about that, and there's not enough information to say anything else.
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Old 13th September 2011, 07:58 PM   #40
Cleon
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
This is getting way fewer comments than I would've imagined. Is everyone out there terrified, or is it just not very interesting somehow?
Speaking for myself, I'm just sad.
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