Former California State Assemblyman Employed by Los Angeles County Probation Department Arrested on Charges of Defrauding Banks out of Thousands of Dollars by Falsely Claiming to Be the Victim of Identity Theft
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 14, 2012|
LOS ANGELES—Carl Edward Washington, a former democratic California State Assemblyman for California’s 52nd district, was arrested today by FBI agents on charges that he defrauded Farmers and Merchants Bank, First City Credit Union, and LA Financial Credit Union out of thousands of dollars by falsely claiming to be the victim of identity theft. Washington, 47, of Los Angeles, was most recently employed by the Los Angeles County Probation Department. Washington was charged with three counts of bank fraud and three counts of making a false statement to a federally insured financial institution.
The indictment alleges that Washington would obtain credit cards and loans from financial institutions that he used to purchase several thousand dollars worth of goods and services. After using the credit cards to make these purchases, Washington would allegedly file a police report with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, falsely claiming to be the victim of identity theft, and report that the credit cards and loans had been opened by someone else. The indictment alleges that Washington would provide a copy of the bogus police report to Experian, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, and have them remove the credit cards and loans, many of which had substantial unpaid balances and past due amounts, from his credit report. Once Experian removed the items from Washington’s credit report, Washington allegedly would send out applications for new credit cards without disclosing to the banks his outstanding debts or the fact that he had information relating to those debts removed from his credit report. If the new credit cards applications were approved by the banks, Washington would run up several thousand dollars more worth of debt and file another police report claiming that the new credit cards were the result of identity theft, according to the indictment. The indictment alleges that Washington did make several payments towards the credit cards before claiming they were the result of identity theft, including payments from the same bank account into which Washington was having salary from the Los Angeles County Probation Department, his current employer, directly deposited.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.
Each of the six counts in the indictment carries a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. Washington is expected to be arraigned on all of the charges today in United States District Court.
The case against Washington was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Public Corruption Squad and will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office. The Los Angeles County Probation Department assisted during the arrest of Washington.
Assistant United States Attorney Douglas M. Miller
Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section