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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


JULY 25, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


GRANDVIEW MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO

$116,000 FRAUD, IDENTITY THEFT


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Grandview, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to creating and possessing counterfeit cashier’s checks and to identity theft.


             James M. Tibbs, 33, of Grandview, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr., this morning to the charges contained in a March 14, 2007, federal indictment.


             Tibbs admitted that he attempted to defraud others by creating forged cashier’s checks using his personal computer equipment and printers. On July 14, 2006, Tibbs placed a telephone order with Apple Computer for $67,850 worth of computer equipment and software for use, in part, with his production company. At the time of the order, Tibbs operated a small party production company called Killer Party Productions out of his Independence, Mo., residence. Tibbs placed the order under the false identity of Ethan Hunt (the name of the main character in the movie and television series, “Mission: Impossible”) and mailed a fraudulent cashier’s check for payment, receiving the merchandise on Aug. 2, 2006.


             Tibbs also admitted that he provided a fraudulent cashier’s check for $5,800 to Swanson Surgery Center in Leawood, Kan., on May 18, 2006, and a fraudulent cashier’s check for $36,976 to Metro Ford in Independence on July 26, 2006. Tibbs was in possession of a forged cashier’s check for $5,000 – made payable to himself, with a maker signature of a stolen identity – when he was arrested on July 26, 2006.


             By pleading guilty today, Tibbs agreed to forfeit to the government two computer towers and a monitor, a laptop computer, four computer printers, a surveillance camera and other property used to commit the offense.


            Under federal statutes, Tibbs could be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in federal prison without parole for aggravated identity theft and a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole for forged securities, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html