PHOENIX – A Mesa resident who allegedly used the identity of his deceased brother to collect nearly $300,000 in Social Security benefits has been charged with forgery and fraud schemes thanks to Arizona Department of Transportation detectives’ use of facial recognition training and technology.
After being alerted by the facial recognition system, ADOT’s Office of Inspector General found that Frank Becht, 89, had for the past 28 years been using the name, date of birth and Social Security number of his brother, Kenneth Becht, who died in 1989.
In September 2009, Becht applied for an Arizona identification card under the stolen name at the Mesa MVD office. In April 2010, Becht applied for a driver license under his real name. He updated each of the credentials in the last couple of years.
ADOT’s facial recognition system found Becht’s photo on his profile and a profile under his brother’s identity. Detectives, who have FBI training in facial recognition, determined that both of the photos were of Becht.
ADOT’s investigation found that the Social Security Administration hadn’t been made aware that Becht’s brother, Kenneth, had died 28 years ago, and therefore had been paying out benefits. ADOT detectives found Kenneth Becht’s death certificate and provided it to federal officials.
The investigation also revealed that Becht had used his brother’s identity on credit cards and state-issued IDs in Maryland, Virginia and Nevada.
ADOT detectives arrested Becht, who was released without being booked. Charges for fraud schemes and forgery have been filed with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
This case is one more example of how facial recognition technology used by ADOT’s Office of Inspector General protects Arizonans’ identities and helps prevent fraud involving state-issued driver licenses and identification cards.