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CU System
Ex-lawmaker charged with ID theft ploy defrauding CUs
LOS ANGELES (9/19/12)--Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents Monday arrested former California state assemblyman Carl Washington, who allegedly stole thousands of dollars from credit unions and banks by pretending to be a victim of identity fraud.

Washington, who works for the Los Angeles County Probation Department, was charged with defrauding LA Financial FCU, First City CU, Los Angeles, and Farmers and Merchants Bank (LA Observed Sept. 18). The $360 million asset LA Financial FCU is based in Pasadena and has branches in Los Angeles. First City CU is a Los Angeles-based credit union with $492 million in assets.

He was charged with three counts of bank fraud and three counts of making a false statement to federally insured financial institutions.

Washington allegedly would use credit cards and loans from the credit unions and banks to purchase goods and services (Press-Telegram Sept. 18). According to the indictment, he would then 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 suspect also allegedly provided a copy of the false police report to Experian, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, and request that the credit cards and loans be removed, although many of them had unpaid balances, according to the indictment. When Experian removed the items, Washington allegedly applied for new credit cards without disclosing the unpaid balances.

Washington did make several payments toward the credit cards before claiming they were the result of identity theft, according to the indictment.


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