Feds Bust $1M Fraud Ring
Washington federal prosecutors busted a large fraud ring that stole nearly a $1 million from three credit unions and four banks over five years, according to a 60-count indictment filed in U.S District Court in Seattle last week.
The indictment alleged between November of 2010 and the present, 10 individuals used 219 different bank accounts to steal more than $987,000 from the $13 billion Boeing Employees Credit Union in Tukwila, the $924 million TwinStar Credit Union in Lacey, the $1.1 billion Sound Credit Union in Tacoma, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Banner Bank and KeyBank.
According to the indictment, the defendants allegedly used stolen checks to make fraudulent deposits in the accounts. Using debit cards, the co-schemers would withdraw large amounts of cash before the institutions determined the checks were no good.
The ring used card cracking to make some of these deposits, federal prosecutors alleged. In a card cracking scheme, criminals recruit account holders and convince them to provide access to their account, usually through an ATM or debit card.
Many of the deposited checks were stolen during car prowls, which occur when criminals break into cars to steal anything of value. In a 2009 article, The Seattle Times reported car prowls were the city’s most frequently reported crime.
The 60-count indictment charged the defendants with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft for the fraudulent use of debit cards.
The defendants named in the indictment are: Clayton Leon Bias, Jr., 25, of Kent, Arthur Napoleand Wilcher, 29, of Tacoma, Calvin Dewayne Davis, 26, of Federal Way, Okila Ayanna Malayka Ulmer, 31, of Renton, Amanda Rae Riffle, 28, of Tacoma, Relonna Dollinn Ward , 34, of Tacoma, Avery Edward Lee, 32, of Milton, Johnathan Marquiel Turner, 22, of Federal Way, Shawn Andre Turner 24, of Kent, and Sephora Quilyn Watkins, 27, of Tacoma.