A prolific Snohomish County forger and identity thief now faces federal charges after he was caught with a bag of stolen checks, a doctored passport, and a fake Social Security card at an Everett Wal-Mart.
The Everett cops and Snohomish County Sheriffs reported the incident to the Secret Service, the federal agency that handles doctored passports and other forgeries. The feds figured out that the passport originally belonged to a man with the initials "B.T.K.," but it had gone missing five years prior. Couch acquired it somehow, and changed the name to Kevin J. Kristianson. According to court documents, Couch admitted using the made-up Kristianson name when cashing fake checks. The fake Social Security card was also B.T.K.'s, and Couch used the Kristianson name on that too.
As for the bag of checks and stolen mail, an investigation revealed that they belonged to no fewer than 27 different people. Couch supposedly confessed to using a friend's computer to print fraudulent checks, a fake Washington ID card, and to alter the Social Security card.
Kevin John Couch in an undated mugshot from the Washington Department of Corrections.
Couch was arrested April 12 in the Spokane area on a federal warrant. He is now in custody in Seattle, facing felony charges for passport forgery, possession of stolen mail, and use of a fraudulent Social Security card.
Court records show Couch has accumulated a lengthy rap sheet in Washington, with previous convictions for drug possession, identity theft, forgery, and possession of stolen property. He has also had debt issues in King, Cowlitz, Snohomish, and Spokane Counties.
A spokesperson for the Western Washington U.S. Attorney's office says Couch narrowly avoided federal prosecution in 2006 for "a litany of identity theft and forgery related charges," but was instead prosecuted by the state and sentenced to 72 months in prison. He was released in 2010, only to be arrested shortly thereafter for yet another forgery.
With the latest round of charges, Couch faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.