(STL.News) – A federal grand jury has charged Baris A. Koch, 30, of Dayton, with misprision of a felony and making false statements.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Joseph M. Deters, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, and Vance Callander, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), announced the charges returned this week.
In July 2019, Baris’ brother Izmir A. Koch was sentenced to 30 months in prison following his conviction for committing a hate crime and lying to federal agents.
According to the indictment in this case, 10 days later, Baris Koch obtained a duplicate driver’s license from the Ohio BMV, claiming he had lost his previous license.
Izmir Koch was ordered to report to a federal correctional institute on Aug. 16 and he failed to report.
On Aug. 21, Baris Koch obtained yet another duplicate driver’s license from the Ohio BMV, claiming again that he had lost his previous driver’s license.
FBI and HSI agents later discovered, according to court documents, that on Aug. 9, Izmir Koch crossed into Mexico by foot, posing as his brother. Izmir Koch used Baris Koch’s United States passport to fly from a Mexican airport to Europe, where he eventually made his way to Russia. Baris and Izmir Koch both previously resided in Russia and have held Russian passports. The United States and Russia do not have an extradition treaty.
Mail records show that several days later, on Aug. 16, Baris Koch received a package from a “Baris Ali Koch” at a Russian address with an official label describing the contents as “PASSPORT, COPIES OF DOCUMENTS.” The real Baris Koch did not travel outside the United States during this timeframe.
When the FBI interviewed Baris Koch on Sept. 11, he allegedly told the agents that he had last seen Izmir Koch on Aug. 9, and that he had no knowledge regarding his brother’s possible whereabouts. It is alleged Baris Koch likewise failed to mention that, days after his brother’s disappearance, he received a package purportedly sent from himself in Russia with passports inside it.
The defendant allegedly failed to report knowledge of a felony offense, namely, aggravated identity theft by misuse of a U.S. passport, and concealed that fact from FBI agents.
He is charged with one count of misprision of a felony, a federal crime punishable by up to three years in prison, and one count of making false statements to federal agents, which carries a potential maximum sentence of five years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI and HSI, as well as Special Assistant United States Attorney Kelly K. Rossi, who is prosecuting the case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.