ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A suspect is caught preying on celebrities in a wild case of identity theft.
Normally, one doesn’t associate baseball players with a member of the Backstreet Boys, a football coach, state representatives and lawyers. But now, they are associated because of on man who police say tried to steal their identities.
A three-year investigation has wrapped up. Michael Watters is sitting in the Seminole County Jail after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) says he committed fraud, impersonating 22 different people in Florida, many of them with familiar names.
They include baseball players Johnny Damon, Jonathan Papelbon and Barry Larkin, a member of the Backstreet Boys Howie Dorough, tennis player Jennifer Capriati, former Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, former Magic head coach Scott Skiles and former Florida State Representative Marty Kiar, among others. Kiar told FOX 35 that he learned about the investigation two years ago and was scared when it happened.
According to the FDLE, Altamonte Springs Police stumbled on it when they were searching a car for drugs back in 2015. Inside the car. They say they found not only drugs, but IDs, nearly 100 checks, plus a laptop and printer.
Michael Watters’ photo was apparently on many of those ID’s. In total, FDLE says there were 21 victims, 21 financial institutions affected and those checks amounted to more than $21,000. A friend of Watters later told FDLE Watters did this for the “thrill” of it.
FDLE says he made counterfeit licenses with real license numbers and dates of birth of these people, but didn’t use their names.
According to FDLE, two lawyers from the Morgan and Morgan law firm were also affected, as well as some other football players, baseball players, golfers and former state representatives.
Watters had his first appearance in court Monday. He’s due back in court in September.