We have discussed before how a recent and unfortunate appellate decision in California is slowing down or preventing criminal background checks for employment and tenancy (here and here), much to the detriment to public safety in the Golden State. Sadly, Californians are at risk of being defrauded when an employer is prevented from looking at the criminal past of a job or an apartment application. Past may be prologue.
DiAndre Lamont Lopez, an Orange County, California resident, applied for a license in California as a mortgage loan officer (MLO), an occupation where the person serves as a representative of a bank, credit union, or other financial institution to assist borrowers in the application process. An MLO has access to very sensitive, personal financial information and financial accounts. Lopez was denied his application because he pled guilty to or was convicted of four felonies related to his arrest for armed robbery, including bank robbery. For some of his crimes, Lopez served thirty-six months of incarceration. He also did not fully disclose all of his criminal histories on his MLO application./1/ Prior to his denial of an MLO license in California, he was denied an MLO license in New Mexico because, in part, of an armed robbery of a clothing store./2/
Without access to criminal history information, fraudsters may be more likely to find employment as loan officers and in other positions of financial trust. The ability to conduct a background check is critical to protecting Californians, and people across the U.S.
/1/ Matter of Comm. of Bus. Oversight v. Lopez, Dep’t. of Bus. Oversight, NMLS No. 421873, Nov. 9, 2015.
/2/ Matter of Lopez, N.M. Reg. & Licensing Dep’t., Fin. Inst. Div., FID No. 2013-15, May 29, 2014.
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More