News and Press Releases


April 19, 2005

GARY PETER WILLIAMS, 53, of Seattle, Washington was sentenced to 136 months in prison, 5 years of supervised release and $856,878 in restitution for his role as the leader of a major identity theft ring that committed more than a million dollars in Bank Fraud. In handing down the sentenced Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik noted that "identity theft is a scourge in this nation. Identity theft is like tossing a rock in a lake, the ripples go out causing problems for people far into the future."

WILLIAMS pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft and one count of Bank Fraud on February 28, 2005. At a sentencing hearing today he disputed that he was truly the leader of the ring. However, prosecutors presented witnesses who testified that WILLIAMS was the one who obtained the fake ID's from a supplier in California, drove them to the banks, instructed them how to open accounts, deposit phoney checks, and make cash withdrawals at numerous banks or casinos. Testimony at the hearing revealed that the identifying information (names, social security numbers, account numbers and more) were purchased from various bank employees. After hearing the evidence Judge Lasnik ruled that WILLIAMS was the leader of the ring.

Prosecutors asked for a lengthy sentence for WILLIAMS because of the number of victims harmed by this ID theft ring, and because of WILLIAMS' attempt to obstruct justice by trying to get his 17-year-old son to destroy evidence after WILLIAMS' arrest. WILLIAMS' son did not follow the instructions and the materials were turned over to investigators.

Under the plea agreement, WILLIAMS will get credit for 10 months he served in California during the operation of the ID theft ring, making the ultimate sentence 126 months of imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department Fraud Unit, the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, and the FBI.

Judge Lasnik complimented the investigators on their hard work, noting that a few years ago individual cases of ID theft were not linked together as these were, to attack the larger conspiracy. Judge Lasnik noted that the "co-operation and focus of investigating agencies is starting to make a dent" in this criminal conduct.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelly Harris and Special Assistant United States Attorney Norman M. Barbosa. Mr. Barbosa's position is funded by the Social Security Administration as a part of SSA's efforts to combat identity theft and Social Security fraud. For additional information contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington at (206) 553-4110.

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