KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A 40-year-old Raytown, Missouri man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to his role in a fraud scheme that utilized the stolen identities of Johnson County, Kansas, government employees to make fraudulent purchases.
Michael B. Becher pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to commit credit card fraud from Feb. 1 to June 30, 2019.
Becher admitted that he and his co-conspirators used stolen identity information to make fraudulent purchases. Many of the identity theft victims were current or former employees of Johnson County.
The Johnson County, Kansas government experienced a data breach of employees’ personally identifiable information in 2015.
Becher was responsible for making counterfeit driver’s licenses in the names of the identity theft victims. Becher and co-conspirators used the counterfeit licenses to open fraudulent credit accounts.
Before making a counterfeit driver’s license, Becher performed a credit check on the identity theft victim to determine the likelihood of establishing a credit account.
Becher made at least seven fraudulent purchases himself, using the stolen identities of three victims, at Lowe’s and Home Depot in transactions ranging from $1,617 to $8,049. He then sold the goods and equipment for half of the actual value of the property. Becher kept half of the proceeds that he sold and gave the other half to co-conspirators.
Another suspect, Rachel R. Jarman, 35, address unknown, pleaded guilty on Dec. 17, 2021, to her role in the conspiracy.
In a separate and unrelated case, Becher has also pleaded guilty to his role in a nearly $10 million conspiracy to distribute almost 1,000 kilograms of methamphetamine from Sept. 1, 2018, to Nov. 5, 2019. He admitted he was responsible for the distribution of at least 185 kilograms of methamphetamine.
Becher also admitted that he purchased multiple pounds of methamphetamine on a daily basis.
Under federal statutes, Becher and Jarman each are subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole in this case.
In the drug-trafficking case, the government and Becher have agreed to a sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole.
A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date.
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