Orlando identity theft victim gets false criminal record cleared

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — An Orlando woman who had her identity stolen years ago and then wrongfully labeled a convict will be getting her name cleared from court records.

Channel 9's Janine Reyes has been following this story since December and reaching out to different agencies. Her work finally prompted records to be changed at the Orange  County Clerk of Courts Office and that coincided with an emergency hearing that could bring justice to the victim.

Latarsha Kinchen is the victim of a crime and then the victim of a clerical error.

She has been trying for years to get her name removed from the mugshot of Africa Money James who in 2014 gave law enforcement Kinchen’s name.

“It was docketed in our systems. Unfortunately, a clerical error did not update the name from Ms. Kinchen to Ms. James,” said Orange County Clerk of Courts Melissa Geist.

Kinchen, who has a criminal justice degree, lost her job last year and then spent the last few months trying to to get a new job, but her background check always showed she was a convicted felon.

“I understand how felons feel now, because once they put that on you, you're done, nobody cares,” Kinchen said.

Kinchen could not pass a background check, even with a letter from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that said she was not a convict and had her identity stolen.

Eyewitness News called the arresting agencies, the Department of Justice, the State Attorney's Office and the Clerk of Courts office.

Read: Orlando woman says identity thief left her with a criminal history that isn't hers

“Once you got in touch with us and we looked at this case, we immediately as soon as we could, got that name changed,” Dain Weister, director of communications and public affairs at the Orange County Clerk of Courts said Tuesday.

By Wednesday an emergency hearing was held for Kinchen.

Judge Kim Shepard was not on the bench throughout the mug shot mix-up, but said during court that she will do all she can to make it right.

“In addition, I think an apology is in order. Three years of having your reputation destroyed when it is completely unwarranted is something no one should have to live with,” Shepard said.