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North Dakota judge orders identity thief to prison after he used someone else's identity for over 20 years

Patrick McKee, 77, allegedly stole another person's identity in 1997 and used their Social Security number to live under a new alias.

Gavel Court Crime Courts

BISMARCK — A federal judge sentenced a man from Flint, Michigan, to two years in federal prison for using another person's Social Security number to establish a new identity.

Patrick McKee, 77, allegedly stole another man's identity in 1997 and used his Social Security number to create and live under a new alias, "William O'Hara," according to a criminal complaint.

McKee entered guilty pleas, and U.S. District Judge Daniel Traynor sentenced him on charges of aggravated identity theft, Social Security false statements, false statements and health care fraud.

The investigation found that McKee used the stolen identity to obtain health care benefits, mortgages, credit cards and "numerous other fraudulent pretenses," according to a Wednesday, Jan. 6, news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in North Dakota.

"We will continue to pursue those who misuse the Social Security number of others for their own personal gain. For decades, by obtaining benefits and services as someone else, McKee abused the identity of another person,” said Christian Assaad, special agent with the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General in the Denver Field Division.

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According to the criminal complaint, the rightful owner of the Social Security number died in 2017, and the Social Security Administration said McKee, under his alias "William O'Hara," was receiving paychecks from the Walmart in Minot, North Dakota, using the stolen Social Security number.

Law enforcement visited the Minot Walmart in February 2021 and confirmed "William O'Hara" was not the same man as the rightful holder of the Social Security number.

In addition to two years in federal prison, McKee was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at mgriffith@forumcomm.com.

Michelle (she/her, English speaker) is a Bismarck-based journalist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and Report for America, a national service organization that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities.
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