Here’s a tip that most people know, but apparently a Laceys Spring, Alabama man did not – if you’re facing charges related to multiple crimes, don’t fake your death and try to leave the United States under someone else’s identity. (You will surely be found by justice and as evidenced by today’s case, be prosecuted for identity theft and Social Security fraud.)
The unsavory fraudster from Alabama was facing first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy charges in one county and aggravated child abuse charges in another. (He allegedly assaulted his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter and allegedly hit another child.) With pending court dates, the desperate 28-year-old Laceys Spring man thought it would be a good idea to avoid prosecution for his alleged crimes by using someone else’s personal information to obtain a Social Security card, an Alabama driver’s license and a passport. Shortly after obtaining these documents, he faked his death by leaving blood, clothes and his wallet along the Tennessee River. (The evidence was later found by some very surprised fishermen. Now that’s a legitimate story about the big one that got away.)
The day after the staged items were found along the river, the stolen identity was used by the man on the run to fly through Chicago to Canada, then Japan. He then used the fake documents to fly to Malaysia. It wasn’t long before authorities were alerted to possible sightings of the man. He used his assumed identity to apply for teaching positions in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. (While he used a fake name, he used his own identifying photo. Not exactly a smart move for someone who wanted to fly under the radar.) Fortunately, he was arrested by Thai authorities and extradited to the U.S.
The man from Alabama, who has quite a criminal history in the Tennessee Valley, pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and Social Security fraud. Let’s hope that justice will be served when he is sentenced for his crimes. He faces five years in prison for committing Social Security fraud and two years behind bars for identity theft, plus a maximum fine of $500,000. (That doesn’t include what might happen if he is found guilty of the other charges against him. Hopefully the man who was found by justice will be given a just sentence.)
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, “Morgan county man pleads guilty to faking own death,” posted on WHNT.com on August 8, 2019.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A Laceys Spring man accused of faking his death to avoid prosecution for rape pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday.
Jackson Matthew Hall, 28, pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud and aggravated identity theft.