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Man’s Attempt to Evade Child Support Through Fake Death Leads to Severe Legal Consequences

Published by on April 7th, 2024.


A Kentucky man, Jesse Kipf, 38, confessed to orchestrating his own death to evade paying over $100,000 in overdue child support to his ex-wife. He pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and computer fraud charges in federal court on March 29, as outlined in the plea agreement obtained by Law & Crime.

Kipf was indicted by the United States Attorney’s Office in November after investigators with the FBI in Louisville, Kentucky, the Department of the Attorney General for Hawaii, and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office caught wind of his cyber crimes, according to a press release.

Kipf admitted to completing a Hawaii Death Certificate Worksheet in Jan. 2023, where he created a fake death certificate for himself and “assigned himself as the medical certifier for the case and certified that case.”

Prosecutors argued that his motivation to commit the cyber crimes was fueled by his desire to avoid paying “his outstanding child support obligations to his ex-wife,” the plea agreement states.

The very-much-alive father then “infiltrated other states’ death registry systems” using stolen credentials, according to the plea agreement.

“He applied a digital signature for [the physician], providing his name, title, and license number. This resulted in the Defendant being registered as deceased in many government databases.”

However, his illegal online endeavours didn’t end with faking his death. Kipf also used the credentials he stole to gain access to private business, government, and corporate networks with the goal of trying to sell the sensitive information he fraudulently obtained to other crooks online.

“In doing so, the Defendant caused damage to multiple computer networks and stole the identities of numerous individuals,” according to the plea agreement.

In January, Kipf was charged with computer fraud stemming from the data breaches of GuestTek Interactive Entertainment in February 2023 and Milestone Inc. in June 2023.

Authorities estimated the damages caused by Kipf for skipping out on his child support payments and gaining access to the networks exceeded more than $195,000, court documents show.

The computer-hacking father agreed to pay restitution of $3,500 to the state of Hawaii, $56,247 to Milestone Inc., $19,653 to GuestTek Interactive Entertainment, and $116,357 to the California child support agency, according to the plea deal.

He also agreed to forfeit his electronic devices and $16,218 in gold and silver coins. Kipf was initially charged with five counts of computer fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft, which carried a maximum of 30 years behind bars before many of those charges were dropped after he took the plea deal.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 12 in federal court in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Kipf now faces a maximum of five years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft and a minimum of two years for computer fraud — both of which carry a steep fine of $250,000, according to the plea deal.



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