Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Too Close to Home

Thanks for the Memory to Daniel at Daniel's Political Musings.

Not long after I posted on Hillary Rodham Clinton and Immigration, I hopped over to Daniel's blog and read the following:

Finnish man headed home because of fraud

3/22/2006, 1:08 a.m. PT
The Associated Press

Pentii Reino Tuomi, 58, used at least 16 aliases and false Social Security numbers as he hopped from one state to another performing a variety of jobs. He was Danny Cole; he was Dan Savage. He was a bouncer, a bartender and even a bodyguard for Walter Mondale when the senator ran for president in 1984.

Now it has come to an end.

Tuomi is scheduled to be arraigned in Eugene this week on charges of felony fraud and accepting more than $50,000 in public assistance benefits under a false identity during the dozen or so years he's lived in the Eugene area. Federal charges were filed against him in Portland last summer, accusing him of illegally receiving $68,835 in Social Security benefits.

Authorities told the Register-Guard newspaper that Tuomi will probably be given 30 days to leave the country and will not receive jail time because of his cooperation. Arrangements will likely be made for him to send the money he owes back to Oregon.

"I just wanted to make things right," Tuomi said recently while sitting in the Hosanna Christian Fellowship church in Eugene. "It bothered my conscience."

I know this man, who actually goes by his middle name, Reino. The Feared Redhead and I used to attend the church he still attends and on whose property he lives.

My heart breaks for Reino. He's a broken man, and is truly contrite. He knows what he did is wrong, and I admire him for turning himself in and trying to make things right. As a Christian, I believe there is forgiveness for sin when there is repentance. Despite his past, I consider Reino a brother.

But he and I also know that there are connsequences for our actions. It is just that he face those consequences, and right that the government uphold the law.

I agree with his deportation, but I'll miss him, and I'll pray for him.

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