Four Men Indicted for Identity Theft, Counterfeit Check Conspiracy
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that four men have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a conspiracy to steal identity information and use the stolen information to create and cash more than $70,000 in counterfeit checks.
Tyler Sutton, 53, Gary K. Keesler, 35, and Chad M. Mills, 26, all of Kansas City, Mo., and Christopher Hite, 32, of Windsor, Mo., were charged in a 10-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.
The federal indictment alleges that Sutton, Keesler, Mills and Hite participated in the conspiracy beginning in October 2013.
According to the indictment, Sutton unlawfully obtained identity and account information belonging to other persons and businesses. Sutton allegedly stole these items from a business and from the mail and allegedly paid addict co-conspirators in cash and/or drugs for checks, identification information, credit card numbers, and other information that could be used to create counterfeit checks and identifications. Sutton and co-conspirators used the stolen documents to create counterfeit identifications and checks, the indictment says, which they cashed at retail stores and financial institutions
Sutton was employed to be a property manager. He was a tenant at a residence in the 400 block of Gladstone Boulevard in Kansas City. According to the indictment, however, he only paid rent for one month and was evicted in October 2014. Sutton used the Gladstone Boulevard residence to conduct his illegal business, the indictment says, by operating it as a flop house where he offered cash and/or drugs to drug addicts who brought him stolen mail, identities, addresses, credit card numbers, and bank account information that could be used to create counterfeit identifications and checks. Sutton often allowed the addicts to stay at the Gladstone Boulevard residence.
Sutton did not usually create counterfeit identifications and checks himself, according to the indictment, nor did he personally present counterfeit identifications and checks for payment. Rather, he allegedly instructed others in the making and presenting of counterfeit identifications and checks, and shared the illegal proceeds with his co-conspirators. In this manner, the indictment says, Sutton attempted to insulate himself from liability.
In addition to the conspiracy, Sutton, Keeler and Hite are charged together in two counts of bank fraud and in two counts of aggravated identity theft. Sutton and Mills are charged together in one count of possessing counterfeit checks. Sutton is also charged with two additional counts of possessing counterfeit checks and two counts of possessing stolen mail.
The indictment also contains a forfeiture count, which would require the defendants to forfeit to the government any proceeds obtained through the alleged violations, including a money judgment of $70,100.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen D. Mahoney. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.