News and Press Releases

Twenty Year Crime Spree Across the West Ends with Arrest near Lynden, Washington

May 5, 2006

LARRY STEVE ALBERT, 62, of Lynden, Washington, was sentenced to three years in prison and three years of supervised release today in U.S. District Court in Seattle for Mail Fraud and Use of False I.D. At sentencing, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour told him, “I can’t think of anything more troubling than having a deceased child’s name used to commit crimes.”

According to court filings, for more than 20 years ALBERT assumed hundreds of false identities, many from deceased children, to write bad checks. Investigations had been opened concerning his check kiting scheme in Washington, Oregon, and New Mexico. ALBERT used counterfeit or otherwise falsely obtained birth certificates to obtain IDs such as drivers licenses. ALBERT traveled the west obtaining identification documents and writing bad checks in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, North Carolina, and Montana. Prosecutors say they have been able to identify more than $183,000 in bad checks – and that represents just a portion of the fraud over the last 20 years.

Using hundreds of identities, ALBERT quickly moved from one jurisdiction to the next making it impossible for law enforcement to catch up with him. In Washington alone, ALBERT used the identities of more than 40 deceased children. Diligent work by agents from the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General ultimately led to ALBERT’s arrest near the Canadian border last October.

In asking for a substantial sentence, prosecutors wrote to the court that ALBERT’s use of the identities of deceased children had a significant impact on their loved ones. “Committing crimes in the names of deceased children is incredibly callous and quite painful to the relatives of those who have died,” prosecutors wrote to the court in their sentencing memorandum. “Indeed, one victim compared this crime to the desecration of their son’s grave,” prosecutors wrote.

ALBERT apologized to the parents of the deceased children for the pain he had caused, and apologized to his own family for deceiving them.

The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG) and was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Norman 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 please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206)553-4110.

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