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NY DMV Busts 4k Fraudsters With Facial Recognition Tech

Identity theft often involves multiple pieces of identification. That means multiple driver's licenses, all with the same face. So in 2010, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles began using facial recognition software to flag the same face applying for multiple licenses. Turns out it pays off. The New York Post reports the DMV's facial recognition technology has led to 4,000 arrests and ID'd a total of 21,000 cases of identity theft or fraud. Hey, You Look Familiar The facial recognition program looks for the same faces applying for driver's licenses under different names. Yes, in rare instances, the software can uncover identical twins put up for adoption and raised in different parts of the state. But more often than not, as the Post reports, the tech is tracking identity thieves: Among those ensnared in the new high-tech net was Randolph Robinson who tried to obtain a New York driver's license of a man he moved furniture for, authorities said. When the state system flagged him and he realized his license wasn't mailed in a matter of days, Robinson flew to Florida, where he could get a license immediately at a DMV counter, officials said. State investigators tracked him down and busted him after they say he used the Florida identification to withdraw $50,000 from the victim's bank accounts and buy a new Honda. Numbers Game "The use of this facial recognition technology has allowed law enforcement to crack down on fraud, identity theft, and other offenses - taking criminals and dangerous drivers off our streets and increasing the safety of New York's roadways," Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "We will continue to do everything we can to hold fraudsters accountable and protect the safety and security of all New Yorkers." Along with those 4,000 arrests, another 16,000 people are facing administrative action as a result of the technology. A DMV investigation discovered that half of those flagged as having multiple license records were trying to get a second license after their original one had been suspended or revoked. "New York has a simple policy: one driver, one record," Terri Egan, DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner, added. "If your license is suspended or revoked, the days of getting a second one to try to keep driving are over." Related Resources: Driver's License Facial Recognition Tech Leads to 4,000 New York Arrests (Ars Technica) How Are Police Using Facial Recognition Software? And Is It Accurate? (FindLaw Blotter) Legal for Cops to Use iPhone Facial Recognition? (FindLaw Blotter) Can I Get Arrested for Not Having ID? (FindLaw Blotter)
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US and Cuba OK Commercial Flights

President Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro continue to work on improving US-Cuban relations, last week announcing flights between the two countries will resume. But most Americans are still officially prohibited from traveling to Cuba, according to the State Department, and there are no plans in place to actually resume commercial flights anytime soon. They have just been approved. Despite the prohibition on American tourist travel to Cuba, some Americans and countless other tourists from around the world have long visited the island nation even without direct flights. And tourism in Cuba today is booming, according to reports from National Public Radio. Sticking Points Remain In the past year, Cuba and the U.S. have agreed to cooperate on drug traffic control, environmental protections, and the re-establishment of direct mail. But full relations have yet to be restored and neither country has seen all its demands met by the other. Cuba wants the U.S. to lift its economic embargo and pay reparations, which the Castro regime says amount to $120 billion. The U.S. is seeking $18 billion for property seized in the communist takeover, and an improvement in human rights. "Most tourists still cannot legally visit Cuba, but a State Department spokesman says having a stronger aviation relationship will promote authorized travel and improve people-to-people contact," according to NPR's Carrie Kahn. Island Vacations? American planes are not going to be flying tourists to Cuba immediately, but the aviation agreement is a clear signal that relations between the nations continue to improve and that we could be vacationing in Cuba soon. The deal struck between Obama and Castro will allow up 20 flights a day to Havana from the US and up to 10 daily flights to Cuba's other airports. In total, this will allow for about 110 possible flights between the countries every day. Right now, there are no commercial flights actually planned between the countries, just approved. Currently, charter flights do travel directly between Cuba and the U.S. and are allowed to travel with unlimited frequency. Hopefully soon, the rest of will be allowed to do so, too. If you have questions foreign travel, obtaining a visa to go abroad, or even foreign adoption, speak to a lawyer. Counsel can help you sort out your options. Related Resources: Find a Lawyer (FindLaw Directory) Who Can Legally Travel to Cuba? (FindLaw) Can US Passport Holders Travel to Cuba Now? (FindLaw)
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Can Parents Re-Home an Adopted Child?

Raising kids is hard. Anybody who becomes a parent thinking that it will be easy, probably shouldn't be allowed to be a parent in the first place. Raising an adopted child can be especially challenging. Often, these children have been abused and traumatized before they are adopted. Many have psychological issues that require extra resources and care. However, many adopted parents excitedly bring home a child from Africa or Asia thinking that they'll just live happily ever after. /p>When things get rough, and the children act up, some parents are quick to dump the adopted kids on another family through a process called re-homing. Is re-homing legal? Technically, Re-Homing Is Legal In most states, re-homing is legal and easy. Adoptive parents can easily rid themselves of a burden by simply signing a power of attorney. With a quick signature, the adopted children are put into the custody of random people who have not gone through a background check or home study. This is why re-homing can be a recipe for disaster. The Case of Arkansas State Representative Justin Harris The dangers of re-homing are epitomized in the case of Arkansas State Representative Justin Harris and his wife. In March 2013, the Harrises adopted two young girls, ages 5 and 3, through the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Only six months after the adoption, the Harrises sent the girls to live with Eric Francis, a "trusted friend," and his wife. This "trusted friend" worked for the Harrises for only three months, from November 2013 to January 2014, when he was fired for poor attendance. This "trusted friend" ended up raping one of the girls. He was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Re-Homing Is Banned in Several States In response to this horrific story, Arkansas recently passed a law that forbids parents from re-homing their children with another household, except for close relatives, without court approval. Violation of the law is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000. Currently, Colorado, Florida, Wisconsin, and Louisiana also have similar laws banning re-homing. Ohio is also considering legislation that would require court approval before parents can re-home their adopted children. If you've adopted a child and cannot handle the responsibility, consult with an experienced family law attorney before you take a drastic step such as re-homing. Related Resources: Browse Family Law Lawyers by Location (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) The Adoption Option: Should You Adopt? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) 7 Types of Adoption: What You Need to Know (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can I Reverse an Adoption? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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What Is Rent Control?

In order to prevent the cost of rental housing from skyrocketing, local governments may institute rent control regulations. Without rent control, rental prices in some cities can be, as former New York City mayoral candidate Jimmy McMillan eloquently put it, "too damn high." Though as it turns out, McMillan's rent was actually pretty low: He was recently evicted from an East Village apartment he was renting for well under the market rate, thanks in part to New York City's rules for rental units. (McMillan also maintains another apartment in Brooklyn which he reportedly occupies rent-free in exchange for performing maintenance.) So what is rent control, and what does it actually do? Rent Control Explained Rent control regulations generally restrict the ability of landlords to raise the rent on certain types of rental units. Rent control rules also typically restrict the ability of landlords to evict tenants who continue to pay rent on time. Rent control rules vary by jurisdiction. In New York, for example, apartments that have been occupied by a tenant continuously prior to July 1, 1971, in a building built before February 1, 1947, are subject to rent control. Apartments in buildings built before January 1, 1974, with six or more housing units are subject to similar restrictions called rent stabilization. What's the Difference Between Rent Stabilization, Rent Control? In McMillan's case, the apartment he was evicted from was not subject to rent control, but rather was subject to rent stabilization. Although the two are similar, the owners of rent-controlled apartments are generally more restricted in their ability to raise the rent than those with rent-stabilized apartments. Another key difference between the two is that rent-controlled apartment leases can only be passed to a direct family member. This has led to a number of bizarre and sometimes illegal schemes by those seeking to avail themselves of the low rents required by rent control. In one case, a 62-year-old New York woman was legally adopted by an 85-year-old tenant of a rent-controlled unit in order to take over his rent-controlled apartment. If you have questions about rent control, a landlord-tenant lawyer can explain the laws in your city. You can also learn more about your rights as a renter at FindLaw's section on Tenant Rights. Related Resources: Browse Landlord-Tenant Lawyers by Location (FindLaw) Legal Limits for Landlords Raising Rent? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) NYC Rent Control Law Won't Go to US Supreme Court (FindLaw's Decided) For Married Couples, Living Apart May Pay Off (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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5 Legal Issues Single Parents Commonly Face

Today is National Single Parents' Day, an observance that began 30 years ago with a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan. While raising a child isn't easy, dealing with legal issues as a single parent can make your life even more challenging. But even though you can deal with many of legal issues on your own, you don't always have to go it alone. Here are five legal issues that single parents commonly face -- keeping in mind that professional help is just a click or a phone call away: Child custody. Custody can include both physical and legal custody. Physical custody determines where a child will live and is usually determined by where the kid goes to school and whether or not a court can grant sole or joint physical custody. On the other hand, legal custody determines who gets to make decisions for the child, including medical care or religious instruction. For a concise overview of this topic, check out FindLaw's free Guide to Child Custody. Child support. Whether you're paying or collecting child support, this is often a major legal issue for single parents. It's important to remember that child support amounts aren't set in stone and can be modified according to your new income or special needs of your child. FindLaw's free Guide to Getting Child Support Payments provides a summary of what you need to know. Rebellious teens. Even if your teenagers are driving you crazy, it's not the best idea to kick them out of your house and make them fend for themselves -- unless they are legally emancipated. Often, kicking out an underage child who isn't emancipated and refusing to support that child can be considered child abandonment and can lead to criminal charges. Adoption. While states usually don't prohibit an unmarried person from adopting a child, adoption agencies may have different policies when it comes to single parents. In fact, some agencies may prohibit single parents from adopting altogether. Housing discrimination. Under the Fair Housing Act, it's illegal to deny housing to people based on familial composition, the presence of children, or gender stereotypes. So landlords can't refuse to rent you a house solely based on the fact that you're a single parent or that your kids will be living there with you -- even though some may try. Of course these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to legal issues facing single parents. If you find yourself a bit overwhelmed, let an attorney experienced in dealing with your specific type of issue help you figure out the best solution for you and your family. Related Resources: Top 10 Legal Issues for Single Moms (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) What to Do If Ex-Spouse Won't Pay Support? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Single Parents at Work: 3 Legal Facts for Employers (FindLaw's Free Enterprise) Sign Up for Our Free Legal Planning Newsletter (FindLaw's Legal Heads-Up)
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