Identity Mix-Up Causes Modesto Man to Become a ‘John Doe’

MODESTO -- A man in Modesto accused of identity theft claims it’s all a big misunderstanding.

Mark Chacon has built a life, a home and a loving family in Modesto for the past 50 years. But the 63-year-old grandfather now fears that could all be stripped away.

“At that time, I can’t think what happened. Just in my mind I said, 'I don’t know what I did or what happened,'” Chacon said.

The Chacon family spoke exclusively to FOX40 and says the Department of Motor Vehicles has accused Chacon of identity theft. His daughter, Tina Aguilar, says it’s all a big mix-up.

“It’s not like he lived underground. I mean, he raised three kids, he bought a home, he worked the same job for 45 years,” Aguilar said.

Chacon says he got a letter from the DMV back in October of 2017 stating he needed to renew his license and that the department placed a “control stop” on his record.

The family says all the DMV would say is that he’s under investigation.

A month later police officers swarmed their home. Chacon was handcuffed and taken in.

“Well, when it all went happened it was very frightening, very scary,” said Vickie Chacon.

Vickie Chacon, Mark’s wife of 40 years says, they had no idea what was happening until an officer spoke up.

“’You know your husband’s up for identity theft?’ And I said, 'What?'” Vickie Chacon stated.

The family posted bail, but authorities took his driver’s license, his birth certificate and his identity.

“He has no ID, he’s a John Doe,” Aguilar said.

A deputy district attorney in Stanislaus County told FOX40 the DMV did refer the Chacon case to them. They ultimately decided not to file charges against Mr. Chacon because they did not find any criminal intent nor criminal history.

Soon after the family was handed a death certificate for a “Mark Chacon,” who only lived for eight days. It was the same Chacon named in the birth certificate his mother Eva Hernandez gave him. She died in 2013.

“There’s nobody to talk to to get any definitive answers,” Aguilar said.

Chacon says he only saw his birth certificate when he needed a driver’s license as a teenager.

“We don’t know who he is. He could be a stolen child,” Aguilar said.

Now, the family fears he’ll be deported.

“‘Cause he has no name, I’m scared they’re going to take him away from me,” Vickie Chacon expressed.

So, Chacon stays locked up in his own home.

The family says they were given two options, start over with a new name or fight.

“It’s the only thing that we’ve been after is to restore what’s his, what he’s worked all his life for,” Aguilar said.

The family says because of this case, government programs Chacon was benefitting from have claimed he defrauded them, so they’re now garnishing his wife’s benefits.

FOX40 reached out to the DMV and they said in a statement:

“The DMV did do an investigation. We validated that Mark Hernandez Chacon with the same date of birth and social security that this customer provided is deceased. The customer has been advised to visit a DMV field office and provide valid proof of his true identity to apply for a driver license.”

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