Caught using people’s cellphone numbers to track their locations, Mississippi County Sheriff Cory Hutcheson recently pled guilty to wire fraud and to illegally possessing and transferring the means of identification of others, in this case mobile telephone numbers, without lawful authority. As part of his plea deal, Hutcheson agreed to resign as sheriff before the end of the month.
From April of 2014 through March 2017, Hutcheson submitted thousands of Securus LBS requests and obtained the location data of individual phone subscribers without valid legal authorization, and without the knowledge or consent of his targets. Hutcheson obtained the location data of mobile telephone users, including law enforcement officers, personal associates and friends, as well as a judge, without required legal process or authorization by routinely uploading false and fraudulent documents to the Securus database.
In March, Hutcheson was indicted on 11 felony counts of identity theft. According to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, Hutcheson also has more than a dozen related pending charges in Mississippi County Circuit Court of robbery, forgery, computer tampering, assault, and making a false declaration.
“Sheriff Hutcheson simply misused an important law enforcement tool for his own purposes and, as a result, invaded the privacy of hundreds without the appropriate legal process,” said U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen.
On Tuesday, Hutcheson pleaded guilty to wire fraud and to illegally possessing and transferring the means of identification of others without lawful authority. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine of $250,000 on the wire fraud charge and not more than 5 years and a fine of $250,000 on the transfer of identification information charge.
As part of his plea bargain, Hutcheson agreed to resign as sheriff no later than November 24, 2018. His sentencing is scheduled for February 28, 2019.