Former state worker submits DNA, fingerprints in illegal immigrant list investigation

Published: Friday, Jan. 7 2011 11:56 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — A former state worker suspected of using government computers to compile a list of purported illegal immigrants underwent several tests as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into her alleged actions.

Investigators fingerprinted and took a DNA sample from Teresa Bassett on Thursday, according to a source close to the investigation. Bassett also provided a handwriting sample. Authorities did not issue a warrant for the samples, so she presumably submitted them on her own accord.

Developments in the case have been slow in coming since the Utah Attorney General's Office launched a probe into the creation of what became known as "the list" last July. Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said then the investigation would be swift and charges would come soon.

Bassett has not been arrested and no charges have been filed.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office said there is no time frame for completing the investigation.

The now infamous list caused an uproar in the community when it came to light last summer. The 1,300 names were sent anonymously to law enforcement and news media from a fictitious group called Concerned Citizens of the United States, with demands that those listed be deported.

The Department of Workforce Services determined that two of its employees breached a computer database to gather personal information, including addresses and private health data for the list.

It also contained birth dates, addresses and phone numbers, had the due dates of several pregnant women and showed Social Security numbers and the names of many children.

Those workers were later identified as Bassett, a computer specialist who had worked in state government for 17 years, and Leah D. Carson, temporary employee in the imaging department, which scans documents such as utility bills and other paperwork used to verify clients' addresses and income levels. Both lost their jobs as a result of the accusations.

Bassett, who has retained an attorney, has maintained her innocence since her name first surfaced. Carson has not spoken publicly and it is unknown whether she has an attorney.

Bassett's attorney, Loni Deland, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Friday.

Shurtleff earlier said that in addition to determining whether state privacy laws were broken, he would involve the U.S. Attorney's Office to look at whether federal statutes were violated as well. He said the crimes could rise to the level of felonies.

In his review of possible applicable laws, Deland last fall said he found only one felony and the rest misdemeanors.

"Every one of them seemed like a stretch," he said, adding maybe that's why the investigation is moving slowly.

e-mail: romboy@desnews.com

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