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FORMER MONROE RESIDENT SENTENCED TO 92 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR 39 COUNTS OF CONSPIRACY, ID THEFT AND FALSE TAX CLAIMS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2005

EVANGELOS DIMITRIOS SOUKAS, 27, of Monroe, Washington, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Seattle today to seven and a half years in prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Commit Wire and Mail Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Fraud Using Another Person's Identifying Information, and numerous individual counts of Identity Fraud and of Submitting Fraudulent Claims to the Internal Revenue Service. SOUKAS admits to using a variety of schemes from 1999 to 2004, in his attempts to defraud his victims of more than a million dollars. In early 2000, SOUKAS fled the United States for Greece and avoided arrest. Some five years later, SOUKAS was arrested as he arrived at the airport in Cyprus. In sentencing SOUKAS today, U.S. District Judge James L. Robart noted that the fact that SOUKAS fled to Greece to avoid arrest was very troubling.

In all, SOUKAS's fraud totals $1,136,067.03. According to court documents, SOUKAS posted false and fraudulent advertisements for merchandise on various internet auction web sites, knowing he did not have the merchandise and having no intention of delivering it. SOUKAS advertised expensive electronic equipment such as laptop computers, camcorders and cell phones. But, after purchasers mailed SOUKAS checks or paid into a Paypal account, they never received the merchandise. One purchaser was sent a box containing rocks and Styrofoam packaging.

SOUKAS also used at least 15 victims' names, Social Security Numbers and dates of birth to open bank accounts, to apply for lines of credit and loans on the internet, and to purchase merchandise. Using the false identities, SOUKAS had more than $18,000 of Dell computer equipment shipped to his Monroe address. He had more than $5,000 worth of Target merchandise and gift cards shipped to his address, again using fraudulent identities. Using false identities, he fraudulently applied for home equity lines of credit in his victims' names. SOUKAS also filed false income tax returns in his victims' names in an attempt to obtain tax refunds to which he was not entitled. He even applied for refund anticipation loans in his victims' names.

Even after SOUKAS fled the United States for Greece, he continued to use false identities to commit fraud. In December 2003, he made a failed attempt to transfer $285,000 from a victim's Fidelity Investment account into SOUKAS's bank account in Greece. SOUKAS also had blank checks from two of his victims' bank accounts mailed to him in Greece. In Athens, SOUKAS forged and deposited one of these checks for $8,000. He forged and deposited another one of these checks for $60,000. He attempted to run up charges on his victims' credit card accounts, to obtain cash advances, and to raid E-Trade and bank accounts.

A number of victims wrote to the court at sentencing, describing the ways SOUKAS's fraud had damaged them. Some said the experience had cost them hours of time dealing with the identity theft, hours of sleep and stress as crime victims. Many said they felt violated, embarrassed and unable to trust people. Even as SOUKAS was living off of other people's money traveling in Europe, he sent e-mails bragging to one victim about his crimes and sent taunting messages to a Monroe police officer saying in part, "you will never find me, I am free like a bird, I make so much money, just sitting here typing away."

The FBI, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), and the Monroe Police Department investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorneys Karyn Johnson and Kathryn Warma are handling the prosecution.

For additional information please 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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