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Press Release

California Man Sentenced for $460,000 Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a California man was sentenced in federal court today for a nearly $460,000 bank fraud scheme that involved stolen checks and false identities, with much of the illegal proceeds used to purchase gold coins that remain hidden.

Michael Keefe White, 61, of Winnetka, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to nine years and three months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered White to pay $288,769 in restitution.

On Feb. 9, 2017, White pleaded guilty to bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering. White admitted that he obtained checks stolen from the mail, then used counterfeit identification (such as driver’s licenses with his photo and the name of a victim) to open bank accounts in Missouri and other states in which to deposit the stolen checks as well as counterfeit checks modeled from the stolen checks. White then withdrew or wire transferred the money out of the account.

According to court documents, White laundered his bank fraud proceeds through gold coin companies in California; he wired the proceeds of his fraud to purchase at least $227,628 in gold coins in May and June 2016. The court earlier found White breached his plea agreement when he did not truthfully account for the gold coins he bought with proceeds of the bank frauds.

White used numerous counterfeit driver’s licenses to open bank accounts in both Kansas City and Portland, Ore., in a total attempted fraud amount of at least $977,441.

The specific bank fraud to which White pleaded guilty involved an account at a Parkville, Mo., bank in which White deposited a $48,700 counterfeit check. White was arrested at Bank Liberty while trying to redeem a $167,728 check payable to another victim whose identity White had also stolen.

In addition to this case, according to court documents, White committed similar bank frauds in Portland from 2014 to 2016, in which he opened accounts in the names of other men, deposited fraudulent checks, and withdrew $40,614 before the checks were discovered to be counterfeit. White intended to defraud the Portland banks of $517,545. Including his criminal activity in both Kansas City and Portland, the total actual loss from White’s bank frauds is $288,769 and the total intended loss is $977,441.

Court documents note that White, who has never held legitimate employment, has an extensive and uninterrupted criminal history.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen D. Mahoney. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Department of Treasury – Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Inspector Service.

Updated August 24, 2017

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft