In 1995 I was convicted in New York of a class A misdemeanor under Federal law (18USC-2113(b) Grand Larceny not exceeding $100) resulting from grossly mishandling the funds from my parents estate. Since this was my first (and only) offense. I was given 2 years probation and restitution. My probation was extended to 5 years due to financial issues I was having in paying the restitution. I paid back 100% of the funds and completed my parole in March of 2000.
In one respect this conviction was a good thing for me. It made me reassess my life and where I was going with it (at that time nowhere) and motivated me to start a pursing a career. Between 1997 and 9/11/2001 I had built up an impressive career in Information Technology working almost exclusively within fortune 100 organizations and commanding some very hefty salaries. During this time my conviction was never an issue with any of my employers. In fact at one position I was in charge of a database that contained approximately a quarter of the nations credit card information; including authorization codes and the personal information of each cardholder. During my career, I have dealt with confidential material of both a corporate and financial nature.
I was laid off from my job as a direct result of 9/11. After 9/11 the IT industry went flat and I found myself out of work until about 24 months ago when I took a chance with the last of my savings and moved down to central Florida from New York. I worked at my first job here in Florida for seven months when I was released from my job for "a variety of reasons" (note: we hired a new VP of HR a month before hand who was very strong on running background checks). I then took a job in Orlando, FL and was there for 6 weeks when I over heard my manager screaming in his office “Well if he lied about this on his application, then what else has he been lying about”. Shortly there after my managers demeanor towards me took a very negative turn and I was dismissed less than 10 days later. Prior to this he was telling me how please he was with me and how glad he was to have me as a part of his team. It was at this point I started thinking that somehow my misdemeanor had come back to haunt me, I honestly thought this was a dead and gone issue. I had never reported my misdemeanor status to any of my employers because on the applications they never asked about misdemeanors, only felonies.
During this time I applied for state jobs in both Florida and New York only to be told "no thanks" due to my "FELONY" and I have documented proof of this. I tried to explain that this must be a mistake since I only had a misdemeanor, but the damage to my credibility had already been done. Due to this I had extreme difficulty finding a job. I usually had great initial interest from a prospective employer if I did not tell them about my conviction issues, but once they narrowed the job search down and ran a background check, I was dropped from consideration. If I told tell them up front about the situation, I was almost immediately dismissed as a candidate. This was the case not only for any IT jobs, for even the most basic retail job.
My research into this revealed that at some point since my 1995 conviction that the Federal Law (18USC-2113(b) Grand Larceny not exceeding $100) was rewritten to read "18USC-2113(b) Grand Larceny not exceeding $1000". Furthermore if you read the "new" law, Paragraph one addresses a felony conviction while paragraph two addresses the misdemeanor. With this change I became a "felon" in the eyes of the reporting agencies.
Thanks to 6 months of legwork and 2 senators, I managed to get my record corrected, & 3 weeks later I was able to land a good job again. However this "oops" has cost me dearly.
My question regarding this is threefold:
1> Can I sue the CJIS (Criminal Justic Information Service), &/or the clerk of the court for damages stemming from thier mistake?
2> Possibly getting this expunged and sealed?
3> If this was expunged and sealed, would I be able to obtain a security clearance?
Can anyone out there help me or guide me in getting this set right? Can I seek such a claim for damages, and possibly get my record expunged so that I can get on with my life again? Due to my 9/11 layoff and this I lost everything, and my credit is now beyond trashed (see some of my other posts).