(follow-up) Springfield man pleads guilty to bank fraud, ID theft

Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that Bryan Thomas Ray, 32, of Springfield, Missouri pleaded guilty in federal court to two federal indictments that charged him in an identity theft and check-counterfeiting conspiracy and with passing counterfeit $100 bills in Springfield. The bank fraud scheme involved false identification documents that were used to negotiate more than $100,000 in counterfeit checks. The counterfeiting scheme involved $13,300 in counterfeit $100 bills.

Ray admitted that, from April 13 to Nov. 29, 2008, he participated in a conspiracy in Greene and Jasper County, Mo., to steal checking account information and personal identity information from various victims. That information was used to produce counterfeit identification documents (such as driver’s licenses) and counterfeit personal, business and organizational checks that were cashed or used to make purchases. Some of the counterfeit checks were drawn on actual accounts, while others bore fictitious account information.

Ray used a counterfeit driver’s license with a false identity to attempt to cash a $1,175 fraudulent check at a Springfield Staples store on Sept. 27, 2008. The check was from a checkbook stolen from a residence in Ozark, Mo., in a home burglary nine days earlier. However, the clerk at the Staples store knew the identity theft victim and knew that Ray was an imposter. The clerk called the police and Ray fled from the store. When a detective from the Springfield Police Department apprehended him in the parking lot, Ray attempted to destroy the forged check by chewing and swallowing it. Police officers seized several items from Ray’s vehicle that are commonly used to create counterfeit identification documents.

When law enforcement officers attempted to make contact with individuals suspected to be involved in identity theft and bank fraud on Oct. 28, 2008, Ray fled from the residence on foot. He left parked in front of the residence a GMC Yukon SUV that had been provided to him by a co-defendant. Law enforcement officers seized 25 counterfeit Missouri driver’s licenses and non-driver’s identification cards bearing photographs of Ray from the GMC Yukon.

Ray, who also pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft, admitted that co-conspirators obtained $108,599 during the conspiracy.

In a separate and unrelated case, Ray also pleaded guilty to passing counterfeit $100 bills as charged in a second federal indictment. Ray admitted that he passed (or assisted co-defendant Jason Allen Hamann, 36, address unknown, to pass) $13,300 in counterfeit currency. He also admitted that he passed three counterfeit $100 bills at the Just for Him store in Springfield on Feb. 14, 2008.

Hamann was sentenced on July 16, 2009, to three years and 10 months in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to manufacturing and passing counterfeit currency.

Co-defendant Kirsten Rena Kraichely, 28, of Springfield, also pleaded guilty on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010, to possessing a counterfeit $100 bill. Kraichely admitted that she obtained the counterfeit currency from Hamann, whom she knew was manufacturing counterfeit currency.

Under federal statutes, Ray is subject to a sentence of up to 50 years in federal prison without parole, plus a mandatory term of two years in federal prison to be served consecutively to those counts, a fine up to $750,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven M. Mohlhenrich and Randall D. Eggert. They were investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Green County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the police departments of Springfield, Joplin, Rogersville and Branson, Mo.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

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