89-year-old Mesa man caught stealing dead brother's identity for financial gain

New ADOT facial recognition technology uncovered identity theft that spanned decades.

PHOENIX - An 89-year-old Mesa man is facing charges for fraud and forgery after detectives with the Arizona Department of Transportation claim they uncovered evidence he stole his deceased brother's identity. 

Frank Becht's brother Kenneth died in 1989, but detectives say the death certificate was never turned over to the social security administration and Becht had been collecting his dead brother's check. The estimated stolen amount is about $300,000.

"In September of '09 he filed for an I.D. card under the stolen name," said Ryan Harding with ADOT. "And that following April, he came back to the MVD office and got a driver's license under his own name. He got a picture taken each time."

Those photos were ultimately what got him caught thanks to the department's facial recognition software. 

The system has been in use since 2015 and reviews and compares thousands of I.D. photos, including those from previous years. 

"It found this and it brings it to the detective's attention and they went through the levels of review and said this was the same person on two different profiles," Harding said. 

Detectives also say Becht used his brother's name to get credit cards as well as state-issued I.D's from Maryland, Virginia and Nevada. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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