A judge halted an identity theft investigation targeting illegal immigrants in Colorado, saying prosecutors wrongly seized records from an income tax preparer.
The judge ordered Weld County Dist. Atty. Ken Buck to return or destroy the evidence within seven days. Buck’s lawyer said he would appeal.
Thousands of documents had been seized from Amalia’s Translation and Tax Services in Greeley after a Texas man alerted Weld County authorities that someone was using his identity.
In his ruling, the judge said the seizure was too broad and violated the privacy rights of the people whose tax records were taken. The judge barred prosecutors from filing any new cases and said none of the tax information could be used in cases pending in court. Charges have been filed against at least 60 people.