Agencies implement new policy to combat stolen identity in jail after Problem Solvers investigation

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The city's biggest names in law enforcement have come together to try to stop people from using fake names as they move through the Marion County criminal justice system.

In June, CBS4 Problem Solvers launched an investigation after hearing from David Asa, a man whose name was used fraudulently by a jail inmate.

Asa, who had been in trouble with the law years ago but has since worked to stay on a positive path, said he learned about the mix-up because his mother frequently runs her kids' names through MyCase.in.gov, the court system's public search tool.

"She told me that there was somebody under my name and birthday that was locked up and she said, 'I know it’s not you, because I talked to you,'" Asa said.

CBS4 confirmed that Anthony Brehm, a repeat offender with a history of alluding law enforcement, used Asa's name and birth date upon his arrest in May. Despite fingerprints which confirmed Brehm's real identity, he was allowed to move through the courts and bond out of jail using Asa's name.

Shortly after his release, prosecutors dropped the charges under Asa's name and re-filed them under Brehm's name, along with a new identity deception charge. Former Marion County Jail Sheriff John Layton admitted that multiple agencies dropped the ball, and referred the issue to the Criminal Justice Planning Council, or CJPC.

"This is 100 percent true, and we are working diligently to get it fixed," Layton said in June.

Seven months later, at a Jan. 14 meeting of the CJPC, Col. James Martin with the Marion County Sheriff's Office said that a group of six different agencies, including his office, IMPD, the Marion County Prosecutor, Marion County Public Defender's Office, and probation department, met several times to create and implement a new system that identifies an inmate using a fake name and corrects agency records.

"If it’s found out that someone did use the wrong name, we go back and we correct it. We go back and correct it even to the point where, if the last six or seven times you used that wrong name, we go back and correct all those party records," Martin said.

Martin said he believes the new policy will correct the problem that led to the Asa-Brehm mix up.

"We’re all working with the same name and the same data," Martin said.

For Asa, though, the fallout has not ended. Law partners Bob Johnson and Travis Jensen picked up his case and filed a tort claim notice with the city of Indianapolis, alleging that Asa has been stopped by officers three times, including at his own home, causing him to fear for his safety.

In one case, the claim alleges, "(Asa) kept trying to explain the situation and identity theft. It was not until (he) showed the office the CBS4 news story, did he let (Asa) go."

"This actually was a pattern, and even though I believe some attempts have been made to correct it, based in part on your involvement, it had not stopped; and so we certainly wanted to try to help him out and get it corrected," Jensen said.

Johnson and Jensen said they are investigating the situation, as they decide whether or not to file a lawsuit against the city on Asa's behalf.

CBS4 Problem Solvers will monitor the new policy in the coming months to see if it changes situations such as Asa's in the long run. Court records show that Brehm has continued to move in and out of jail since the mix up. Most recently, Morgan County officials issued a warrant for his arrest after he didn't show up to an October probation hearing.

If you have a problem you'd like CBS4 Problem Solvers to consider, contact us at 317-677-1544 or ProblemSolvers@cbs4indy.com.

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