Berrien Springs man gets prison time for $50,000+ identity theft scheme

Published 12:25 pm Monday, June 24, 2024

NILES — A Berrien Springs man was sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court here after being convicted of an elaborate scheme involving identity theft and stealing as much as $50,000 or more from his victims.

     Kyle Michael Manley, 45, of Berrien Springs, pleaded guilty to six felony counts from two separate incidents and was sentenced to six concurrent terms in prison. He must pay $668 in fines and costs and a restitution amount to be determined.

     Specifically, Manley pleaded guilty to three counts of identity theft, two counts of using a computer to commit a crime and one count of uttering and publishing and was sentenced to three terms of 18 months to five years in prison, two terms of 18 months to 10 years in prison and one term of 18 months to 14 years in prison. All sentences are concurrent.

     He also pleaded guilty to two counts of contempt of court for failing to appear for earlier sentencing dates. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail with credit for 90 days served on those two counts. In the original cases, he has credit for 172 days served on three of the counts and 201 days already served for the other three counts.

     One incident occurred between Dec. 1, 2022 and June 18, 2023 in Berrien Springs, while the other incident occurred March 28, 2023 in Eau Claire. Manley would steal checks from people’s mailboxes and use the information on the checks to open new bank accounts with the help of a computer program.

     “His record speaks for itself,” Berrien County Assistant Prosecutor Jerry Vigansky said. “He had a pretty elaborate scheme going.”

     Vigansky noted that Manley’s victims haven’t submitted restitution claims because they’ve found it difficult to ascertain exactly how much money they’ve lost.

     Defense attorney Carri Briseno called Manley a “bright man who made poor choices” and noted that he has an associate’s degree in business and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree. She said that Manley started using methamphetamines last year and that contributed to him committing these crimes. He has also recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

     “He thinks that contributed to him doing these crimes but he knows it’s not an excuse,” she said. “He was honest with police and explained in detail how he committed the fraud and they were able to close out a number of investigations.”

     Briseno said Manley also has felony cases pending for possession of meth and resisting and obstructing police. She asked for probation so Manley can continue with substance abuse treatment and also start to pay restitution.

     “I made a mistake,” Manley said. “I didn’t get in trouble for 20 years and then something bad happened and I started using meth and drinking. I’m ashamed and embarrassed and take full responsibility for my actions.”

     “Your actions impacted several victims,” Berrien County Trial Court Judge Jennifer Smith said. “The amount you stole totaled $50,000 if not more. It was well over 100 times that you engaged in this kind of fraud.”

     The judge said that while Manley has gone for periods of time without being convicted of crimes, these incidents were “thought out, premeditated and intentional.” “The victims still have to figure out how much they lost,” she said.

     “The extent of the crimes you committed and the fact you failed to appear a number of times is troubling to the court,” she added. “What’s more concerning is the repeated nature of these offenses. Given the repeated nature of the misconduct, I don’t feel probation is appropriate.”