Did Grace Poe illegally use a dead person’s social security number in the US?

WHY all the hassle over the two social security numbers (SSN) allegedly used by Sen. Grace Poe when she was living in the US?
In the Philippines, there must be a lot of people who are paying monthly social security premiums but can’t remember their SS numbers. This, aside from the fact that millions in our country don’t have social security coverage at all.
But in the US, the SSN is a priceless code that you cannot afford to be without and you must know by heart. It serves as your virtual password to making major purchases such as a house or a car, dealing with financial institutions, securing government permits and licenses, and gaining access to restricted information, as well as being employed, being paid wages and receiving social security benefits.
But you have to be in the US legally, either as a citizen or as a permanent resident (or green card holder).
You may also be entitled to your own SSN if you are in the US legally but not allowed to work, such as a foreign student on an F-1, M-1 or J-1 visa. The SS card would bear the legend “Not valid for employment.” As a temporary visitor with a working visa, you could also secure your own SSN but it would bear the notation, “Valid for work with INS authorization.”
Needless to say, a person with a questionable immigration status or a TNT (meaning Tago ng Tago – literally, “always hiding”) cannot legally have a social security number.
The SSN is such a sensitive number that you may refuse to divulge it to a private business entity or you may be asked for only “the last four digits” of the number. And in making a major purchase that requires revealing the SSN, you do it much like keying in a bank PIN – without anybody looking.
Note that a person in the US may have his own SSN from birth. And everyone literally carries it to the grave – never to be used again. Thus, when that number appears in official records as having been used by someone other than the original bearer, that is a red flag.
Using an illegal SSN carries a major risk because any enterprising individual, particularly a lawyer, journalist or private investigator, can do an online search and find out the identity of a person who has used a certain SSN.
This appears to have been the case with Poe. Someone keenly interested in her personal background – presumably because of her candidacy for president – dug up not one but two SSNs attributed to her. One SSN appears to have been assigned to her in 1992 after she got married to a US citizen. The other one SSN 005-03-1998, according to online records, was released in Maine in the 1930s to a person who is either dead or is now well past his mid-90s (some online records refer to the person as deceased).
Philippine Daily Tribune publisher-editor, Ninez Cacho-Olivares, accepting a reported challenge of Poe for the journalist to come up with “proof” concerning the illegal use of SSN 005-03-1998 (as published in her paper’s March 7 issue), apparently did due diligence and came up with incriminating results:
“The Tribune found evidence that independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe and her husband Teodoro Llamanzares purchased a property in the State of Virginia in 2006 with the use of Poe’s spurious US Social Security Number (SSN).”
Cacho-Olivares also wrote about other instances when the questionable SSN was used by a certain Llamanzares, Grace P:
“More evidence of SSN-005-03-1988’s use -The records showed that it was first reported use for 2914 Post Office Box in Fairfax county in Merrifield, Virginia 22116-2914 on February 2, 1999; then at 129 Kingsley Rd SW, Vienna, Virginia in Fairfax county on June 1, 1999 and at 12021 Sunset Hills Rd Reston, Virginia on September 1, 1999.
“It was last used at 42931 Shelbourne SQ, Chantilly, Virginia in Loudon county on May 1, 2006.
“Grace Poe Llamanzares and her husband, Teodoro are listed as the owner of a home located at 42931 Shebourne Square. Chantilly, Virginia, with a listed amount of $420,000, with named residents Grace Poe Llamanzare (without an s), Mary Poe, Grace Poe, Teodoro Llamanzares and M. Llamanzares. The SSN used was SSN-005-03-1988, the dead person’s SSN.”
When news of the spurious SSN first hit the newspapers, Poe’s spokesman dismissed it as a lie. He pointed out that the number happened to coincide with the date that Poe enrolled at Boston College and that it was assigned to her as her college ID number.
In fact, the Department of Homeland Security states the following:
“Are you temporarily in the United States to attend a college, language, vocational, or nonacademic school with a non-immigrant F-1, M-1, or J-1 student classification? Your school may ask you for your Social Security number. Some colleges and schools use Social Security numbers as student identification numbers. If you don’t have a Social Security number, the college or school should be able to give you another identification number.”
Assuming that Poe enrolled at Boston College on a student visa, it is possible that the school asked her for her SSN and, having none, decided to assign her an ID number corresponding to her date of enrollment.
But there are some problems with such an explanation. Firstly, would that mean that others who enrolled on that same date were also given the same ID number? Secondly – and this is the one most difficult to understand – why was that supposed ID number in her married name? Shouldn’t it have been in her maiden name, since she had not yet gotten married in 1998?
Thirdly, why was SSN 005-03-1998 used several times by a person going by the name of Llamanzares, Grace P well after Poe had graduated from Boston College (in 1991)?
It is common knowledge in America that many temporary visitors who decide to overstay find ways to secure a social security number. In flea markets in California, hawkers openly sell it (of course, keeping an eagle eye peeled for immigration agents).
Some of these numbers are, quite likely, those of deceased individuals. Others may be the fruits of identity theft. And still others may be random numbers dreamed up by vendors that coincide with genuine SSNs.
Unless Poe can give a credible explanation for the uncanny coincidence of two SSNs being used by a person of the same name, then there certainly is something fishy, and it’s not in Navotas or Malabon.
Of course, to many of Poe’s undying supporters, this may be a “so what?” issue. Aside from the fact that we Pinoys tend to be loyal to our idols, whether right or wrong, there must be thousands in our country who have relatives in America using illegal SSNs. So what’s the big deal?
Could that be the reason why the major newspapers like Philippine Daily Inquirer and  Philippine Star, have not bothered to write about this matter (except for one single PDI story about the insistence of Poe’s spokesman that the Tribune report was untrue). Perhaps they think that a possible case of identity theft by someone aspiring to become president of the Philippine is not important enough.
But to US authorities, it is a big deal. Using another person’s SSN is a felony and subject to a stiff fine and imprisonment.
This problem could hound Poe for many years, whether or not she is allowed to run for president or whether or not she wins the presidency.
Note that in the US, an unpaid parking ticket can hound a recalcitrant all the way to the grave. ([email protected])

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