Different Background Checks, Different Results

On many occasions, we talk about the disparity in results from a state-level background check and with those from a national one. Education and employment history aside, state-level background checks do not always give a full picture of an individual’s criminal history. On a basic level, such a background check may only examine criminal records in state; going to a greater scope, the criminal history may be from each location in which an individual lived. But what if an individual committed a crime not in one of these locations?

This discrepancy was highlighted in a recent story in The Republic. An alleged illegal immigrant was reported as posing as a deputy in Arkansas. When a national criminal background check was conducted, he was found to have immigrated illegally and a hold had been placed on him. The man charged, Wilmar Arnulfo, had, however, been a cadet for the Garland County Sheriff’s Department in Arkansas before, and when applying in 2005, Arnulfo passed a background check and was even found to have a state identification number. About the disparity in results, Sheriff’s Investigator Bill House told the press:

“This time, apparently using new technology they have now, when we ran his fingerprints through the FBI database who ran it through ICE, it showed there was a hold on him.”

No longer a cadet, Arnulfo was reported as dressed in a Sheriff’s Deputy uniform, apparently obtained from an army surplus store, and had been pulling over motorists and issuing them tickets from a stolen ticket book. If convicted, he could face up to six years in prison for felony charges and an additional year for misdemeanor.

Although state-level background checks are not useless, national screenings, especially for criminal history, tend to be more thorough. An instance like this, however, indicates that thorough criminal background checks should be conducted to avoid incomplete information on an individual.