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State v. Cisse

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Delaware

September 6, 2013

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
JAGA N. CISSE Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, case no. 12 CR I 06 0210 B


DAVID H. BIRCH For Defendant-Appellant

Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.


Delaney, J.

{¶1} Appellant Jaga N. Cisse hereby appeals from the September 20, 2012 Judgment Entry of conviction and sentence of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Appellee is the state of Ohio. This case is related to State of Ohio v. Dame Cisse, 5th Dist. Delaware No. 12 CAA 09 0070.


{¶2} Appellants Dame and Jaga Cisse are brothers from Senegal who are naturalized U.S. citizens. Jaga's first name was originally "Ndiaga, " but when he became a citizen, he changed it to "Jaga" because the latter is easier for Americans to pronounce. For the time period relevant to this case, Dame and Jaga lived together at 1776 Bairsford Drive, Columbus, Ohio. Both brothers were employed, sometimes working multiple jobs, and enrolled in college courses. According to Dame, they rarely saw each other despite living in the same house. Mail for both brothers came to the house.

The JPMC Hiring Process

{¶3} J.P. Morgan Chase (JPMC) operates a major enterprise in central Ohio with offices throughout the region and thousands of employees engaged in myriad activities involving banking, loans, and mortgages.

{¶4} JPMC has an online application process by which applicants submit an initial application online for a recruiter to review. If the applicant meets the initial criteria for a position, the recruiter schedules an interview between the applicant and a JPMC manager. The interview takes place at the office location where the manager is based.

{¶5} If the applicant's interview is successful, the recruiter contacts the applicant again to schedule a background check which includes fingerprinting, photographing, and a drug test. This background check occurs at yet a different location. At the time of these events, all fingerprinting and photographing for background checks for employment with JPMC in the Columbus area was performed at 1111 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, Ohio. This location is in Delaware County.

{¶6} Finally, if the background check is successful, an offer of employment may be extended. If something undesirable shows up in the background check, no offer of employment is made and any offers already discussed are rescinded.

{¶7} At trial, a JPMC investigator acknowledged the inherent flaw in this hiring process: the interviewer is not present at the background check location, nor is the recruiter present at the interview. The possibility exists, therefore, that the person interviewed is not the person who shows up to be fingerprinted, photographed, and subsequently background-checked.

Dame Cisse is Rejected for a Position at JPMC and "Ndiaga" is Hired

{¶8} On or around November 9, 2009, Dame Cisse submitted an online application to JPMC for the position of Executive Resolution Analyst. This application was rejected.

{¶9} On January 12, 2010, "Ndiaga Cisse" submitted an online application to JPMC which was duly reviewed by a recruiter. "Ndiaga's" application was forwarded to Robert Hall, the manager of a group called the Customer Request Management Team.

{¶10} Hall met with "Ndiaga Cisse" in person for an interview at the JPMC facility at 3415 Vision Drive, Columbus, known as the "Easton" facility and located in Franklin County. "Ndiaga" told Hall to call him "Jack." "Jack" was working on a bachelor's degree in accounting and hoped that the temporary position might lead to a permanent position with JPMC. "Jack" was very friendly and outgoing and Hall recommended him to be hired. After the interview, Hall told the recruiter to contact "Jack" regarding the background check process.

{¶11} The background check seemingly went smoothly because a few weeks later, in late January or early February, 2010, "Jack" became one of Hall's new team members. On his first day at JPMC, Hall met "Jack" and five or six other new hires in the lobby at the Easton facility, escorted him to his new desk, and helped him start in his new position.

{¶12} About a week later, "Jack's" JPMC ID badge arrived and Hall delivered it to him. The badge is used to enter and exit the JPMC offices but employees usually do not wear the badges throughout the workday. The badges display a photo of the employee and their name.

{¶13} "Jack" worked on Hall's team through May 2010; Hall described him as a productive employee with an average work product, but very personable, friendly, and always smiling. At the close of the busy season, Hall encouraged his team, including "Jack, " to apply elsewhere for permanent positions with JPMC.

{¶14} Carly Richardson worked as an "Investor Reporting Mortgage" for JPMC; the team she supervised reported Freddie Mac loans for mortgages. Richardson also worked at the Easton location. Someone on her team referred his friend "Jaga" to her as a potential new team member and Richardson interviewed him. "Jaga" had accounting and mortgage experience on his resume and would not require another background check because he was already employed by JPMC. Richardson brought him onto her team as a temporary employee with the title "Investor Reporter, Operations Analyst."

Supervisor Discovers Discrepancy on "Jaga's" ID Badge

{¶15} Richardson always referred to "Jaga" as "Jaga" but she heard other employees call him "Jack." She testified she was not impressed with his performance as an employee and his slowness affected the competitiveness of her unit; consequently, she visited "Jaga's" cubicle frequently to make sure he stayed on task. One day Richardson came into his cubicle and noticed "Jaga's" JPMC ID badge lying in plain sight; she was surprised to notice the photo was not of the man she knew as "Jaga." She said, "That's not you, " and "Jaga" replied, "Yes it is; I lost weight." "Jaga" tried to snatch the badge from Richardson.

{¶16} Richardson left "Jaga's" cubicle and reported the matter to her immediate supervisor, who had access to the JPMC employee Passport system containing employee photos. Together they pulled up the photo of "Jaga, " and it was not the man working for Richardson as "Jaga Cisse." Richardson looked on Facebook and discovered that the man she knew as "Jaga" was in fact appellant Dame Cisse, and that appellant Jaga (Ndiaga) Cisse was Dame's brother. At trial, Richardson identified Dame as the man who worked for her under the name "Jaga, " and Jaga as the man pictured in the JPMC employee ID badge used by Dame.

The JPMC Investigation

{ΒΆ17} Richardson reported the matter to corporate security and Kelly O'Reilly launched an investigation. O'Reilly was aware of Richardson's Facebook research and discovered through a LexisNexis search that Dame and Jaga lived at the same address. Additional research tied the brothers together more closely. He found a blog written by "Ndiaga Cisse" containing a photo that matched the photo on the JPMC employee ID badge. He reviewed forensic imaging of "Jaga's" JPMC computer that revealed emails from the address ...

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