Facial recognition IDs Mesa man accused of using dead brother's identity

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ADOT shared a video demonstrating how the tech works using an employee as an example. (Source: ADOT) ADOT shared a video demonstrating how the tech works using an employee as an example. (Source: ADOT)
PHOENIX (AP) -

A high-tech facial-recognition process helped authorities nab a man they say got an ID using his dead brother's name.

State investigators are accusing the 89-year-old Mesa man of fraudulently using identification under the name of his deceased brother for 28 years and say he collected nearly $30,000 in Social Security benefits intended for his brother.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says facial-recognition technology alerted authorities that Frank Becht's photo was used both to update his own driver's license and identification for his brother, who died in 1989.

[WATCH: ADOT video shows how the technology works]

ADOT says agency detectives arrested Becht Aug. 2 on suspicion of forgery and fraudulent schemes.

According to ADOT, investigators determined that the Social Security Administration didn't know that Kenneth Becht died 28 years ago.

A phone listed under Becht's name repeatedly rang busy Tuesday. It's not known whether he has an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Since the Arizona Department of Transportation began using facial recognition technology and training in 2015 to protect Arizonans from identity theft, detectives have brought more than 100 cases to court.

[READ MORE: Facial recognition technology helping ADOT catch criminals April 19, 2017)]

[RELATED: ADOT's facial recognition technology leads to arrest of identity theft suspect (April 5, 2017)]

It’s a process that begins when a person applies for or renews a driver license or ID card at a Motor Vehicle Division office or Authorized Third Party business, and it is a seamless part of the customer’s visit.

After the customer’s picture is taken, the photo goes through a check against all others in the state driver license database while the customer finishes the application process.

All of the analysis takes place inside a computer, and if the system finds the applicant’s photo likely matches another photo under a different name, it flags the photos, putting a temporary stop on printing the permanent card. The photos are then sent to FBI-trained staff members at ADOT’s Office of Inspector General where they undergo three levels of review to verify that the photos are of the same person.

“This high-tech tool has really enhanced our ability to catch identity thieves,” said Michael Lockhart, chief of the Office of Inspector General. “When we couple this technology with other security measures like central credential issuance, it allows us to stop these criminals and keep Arizona IDs out of their hands.”

The detectives and staff members are trained to look for similarities in facial features and even account for identical twins. If photos are confirmed to be the same person on multiple profiles, ADOT detectives will open an investigation.

If detectives determine that a person is committing fraud, the license or ID card is never printed. The temporary credentials customers receive at MVD offices and Authorized Third Party businesses expire after 30 days.

ADOT’s Office of Inspector General investigates fraud involving driver license and identification card applications; vehicle sales by licensed and unlicensed dealers; and vehicle titles and registration. It also assists state, local and federal law enforcement agencies with investigations.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.