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10 Terrible Cases of Mistaken Identity


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Single White ... Male?
Fingerprints were apparently the only differentiating factor between the two Brittany Ossenforts. Monty Rakusen/Cultura/Getty Images
Fingerprints were apparently the only differentiating factor between the two Brittany Ossenforts. Monty Rakusen/Cultura/Getty Images

It would be irresponsible (not to say libelous) to assign a psychological diagnosis to our next case, even if drawing parallels to the film "Single White Female," which portrayed a woman with borderline personality disorder slowly assuming her roommate's identity, is inevitable.

One day in 2007, Brittany Ossenfort and her boss received a phone call asking for $1,050 to bail someone out of the Orange County Jail. The jailbird? Someone named Brittany Ossenfort. Yes, in an extraordinary collision of identity theft and bad judgment, Brittany's 18-year-old male friend, Richard Lester Phillips, had propositioned an undercover cop for a $30 sex act and been booked under her name. Ossenfort knew that her 5-foot-3-inch, 95-pound (1.6-meter, 43-kilogram) friend was a cross-dresser, but the rest no doubt came as something of a shock. Phillips convinced the police well enough to be housed with female inmates, so ... well done?

The matter was soon cleared up — sort of. Because policy forbids jail officials from altering name information in the computer database after booking, this crime will remain listed under Ossenfort's name. In fact, Ossenfort must now carry paperwork with her verifying that she has never been accused of prostitution, just in case police ever stop her and pull up her record. But hey, at least they took the information down from their website — eventually [source: Lundy and Hunt].


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