Forged check, stolen identity scheme sends Billings man to prison
BILLINGS — A Billings man who admitted to being a member of group that passed forged checks at various businesses across Montana was sentenced today to 39 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Lawrence Howard Kahle, 54, pleaded guilty on June 11 to wire fraud and to aggravated identity theft.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided. Judge Christensen also ordered Kahle to pay $1,548 restitution.
“This defendant committed serious crimes and victimized numerous people,” said Billings Police Chief Rich St. John. “Detectives from the BPD, working with our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, worked very hard to help bring justice to the victims. Hopefully, this sentence will bring them closure and send a strong message to others considering the same behavior.”
The government alleged in court documents that in 2020, Kahle was a member of a group that passed forged and counterfeited checks at businesses across Montana. Members of the group would receive stolen checks, identification or paperwork with personal identifying information, usually through mail thefts, burglaries and car thefts. The stolen documents would be used to forge checks and produce fraudulent identifications. Members would then take the forged checks and pass them at businesses. Kahle confessed to passing some of the checks, including a fraudulent check at the Tap Inn in Billings on Oct. 19, 2020.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin M. Rubich prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Billings Police Department.