Man sentenced for stealing identities of Johnson County employees after data breach

  • In US
  • 2023-02-01 20:52:06Z
  • By Kansas City Star

A Raytown man was sentenced on two separate, unrelated federal charges Wednesday - one for stealing the identities of Johnson County government employees and another for conspiracy to distribute $10 million of methamphetamine.

Michael B. Becher, 41, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for the drug-trafficking conspiracy and five years for the fraud scheme after pleading guilty to both charges, according to prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri.

The sentences are set to run concurrently.

In May, Becher admitted that he and co-conspirator Rachel Jarman stole the identities of several victims, including Johnson County government employees, to create counterfeit driver's licenses and open fraudulent accounts in 2019.

Becher and Jarman committed theft after the Johnson County government experienced a data breach of its employees' personal information in 2015, according to prosecutors.

Before creating the driver's licenses, Becher would perform a credit check on his victims to establish whether he could establish a credit account.

Over the course of several months, Becher made at least seven fraudulent purchases to Lowe's and Home Depot, with charges ranging from over $1,600 to $8,000. Prosecutors say Becher kept some of the purchases for himself and gave others to Jarman.

Becher has numerous previous fraud convictions that stretch back for more than a decade, according to federal prosecutors, including one for forging a $500 check belonging to his mother's account.

Private planes, super bazookas and methamphetamine

Becher pleaded guilty in April to his involvement in a Kansas City drug organization led by Mirza Alihodzic, 37. He is one of twelve defendants in the $10 million conspiracy.

Becher was arrested in November 2019 after attempting to meet up with a co-conspirator. The other individual was planning to take a private plane to California that day to purchase methamphetamine.

Officers were outside the residence conducting surveillance when they thought they heard screaming and gunshots, prosecutors say. The officers entered and arrested Becher and several others.

Becher admitted to police that he'd purchased methamphetamine from Alihodzic. He also said he purchased around four to five pounds of methamphetamine daily from another source, and that he'd once carried close to 80 pounds of drugs in his car.

A search of Becher's car and a storage unit thought to be owned by him produced a half-pound of methamphetamine, two M20 Super Bazooka rockets and a rifle. One of the rockets appeared to be live with a propellant and warhead.

Becher told police Alihodzic had given him the rockets.

Six co-defendants have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing for separate indictments that resulted from this investigation, prosecutors say.

Alihodzic was previously sentenced to 35 years in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to drug conspiracy in July.


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