The head of an organized Eastside ID Theft Ring has been arrested, along with several of her associates. Stopping this prolific ring would not have been possible without the assistance of Kirkland Police and the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
The investigation stemmed from an auto theft and drug investigation in the fall of 2011; that investigation uncovered evidence of the Bellevue-based, organized identity theft ring. The female ringleader received mail and personal financial documents obtained by her crew that was actively engaged in car prowls, mail thefts, and residential burglaries in Bellevue and the greater Eastside.
The ringleader used computers, digital cameras and imaging software, air brushes and laminating supplies to produce legitimate looking Washington Driver's Licenses. The suspects would then use the forged IDs and the victims' real credit cards and washed checks to make expensive purchases at stores and to cash large checks at area banks. The proceeds would then be split with the ring leader and her associates; the associates would also receive meth from the ringleader.
On March 30th the ringleader and one of her associates were involved in an ID theft and assault at an AT&T store in Kirkland but fled the scene before law enforcement could arrest them. The King County Prosecutor's Office assigned two deputy prosecutors to the case and on April 25th the ringleader and three of her cohorts were arrested by the Bellevue Police Special Enforcement Team (SET) following a traffic stop in Lake Forest Park. She was subsequently charged with 16 felony counts including ID Theft, Assault, Forgery, Financial Fraud, and Possession of Methamphetamine.
Armed with additional search warrants, SET searched two Bellevue residences and a Renton hotel where they discovered the ID Theft factory as well as the charred remains of stolen mail and financial documents in a fireplace. The ringleader's car was searched and dozens of stolen personal and business checks were found along with counterfeit IDs and methamphetamine.
On May 1, a fifth suspect was arrested in Bellevue and booked into King County Jail on three counts of ID Theft 2nd degree and one count of Possession of Stolen Property 2nd degree. In total, two women and three men were arrested, ranging from ages 30 to 40.
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