ACORN staff dumped thousands of sensitive documents outside a California office just days after the state launched an investigation of the community organizing group, a private investigator says.
Derrick Roach, a licensed investigator based in San Diego, told Fox News that he watched from his car as a man tossed bags of files into a trash bin outside the local branch of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now on Oct. 9.
Roach said he searched the bin and found more than 20,000 documents, many containing confidential information that could put people at risk for identity theft.
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"We're talking people's driver's license numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, tax returns, credit reports," he said.
Roach showed Fox News a document containing bank account information for a woman paying an ACORN membership fee by check.
He said tossing documents like that into a trash bin constitutes a crime in California.
Amy Schur, state head organizer for California ACORN, apologized for the lapse, saying the documents were thrown away during a massive clean-up of the San Diego office. She also suggested that Roach, a former Republican candidate for statewide office, may have political motivations for uncovering the documents, Fox reported.
Roach said he also found documents containing mortgage information for homeowners doing business with Citibank. The bank ran a program, since discontinued, that used ACORN staffers to urge homeowners at risk of defaulting on their mortgages to work on avoiding foreclosure.
Roach believes Citibank will have to report to its customers that sensitive information may have been put at risk when ACORN dumped the documents.
Roach also said documents show that the California Teachers Association was "funneling information to ACORN for political activity."
ACORN has been dogged by allegations of voter-registration fraud and embezzlement.
Several of its offices were the subject of an embarrassing hidden-camera sting in which ACORN employees were shown advising a couple posing as a prostitute and her pimp to lie about her profession and launder her earnings.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown launched a probe of ACORN on Oct. 1, eight days before the documents were dumped.
Roach told Fox the timing is "highly suspicious."
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