Bulgarian identity theft victim struggles to persuade authorities he is alive

A Bulgarian man has been trapped in a bureaucratic hell after falling victim to identity theft which led not only to him being “married” but also declared dead. Ivan Kantardzhiev was “married” by alleged fraudsters using fake documents in summer 2013, and the issue of a fake death certificate followed. At the time of his supposed marriage and death, he was outside the country.

Kantardzhiev’s lawyer, Dimitar Petrov, said that at the moment, the identity theft victim was trying to prove officially that he was alive. Kantardzhiev, however, was saved from an attempt by the alleged perpetrators, who tried to withdraw his savings – a large sum – from his bank account by his “widow” who claimed to be his heir. Bank staff became suspicious and contacted Kantardzhiev.

A woman was arrested, along with four alleged accomplices, by the State Agency for National Security. Criminal charges against the five are pending.

But while the fraud attempt was averted, Kantardzhiev has spent almost a year without identity documents.

Because the state register records him as dead, the Interior Ministry has declined to issue an identity card to him. By Bulgarian law, it will require a court order to invalidate the marriage and death certificates.

Kantardzhiev first must secure a court ruling that he is alive. Advocate Petrov said that this procedure could take two years. A check by the lawyer found that the case of Kantardzhiev is hardly an isolated one – he found dozens of people in the same position. One had been waiting for the restoration of his identity for 863 days.

The most frequent victims of such frauds were adults without heirs, reports said. (Photo: loleia/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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