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FORMER MORTGAGE COMPANY LOAN OFFICER SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR HER ROLE IN ID THEFT RING
Seattle Woman Gave Confidential Financial Information from Mortgage Applications to Ring Leader

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2007

JUANITA BOOKER, 36, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 18 months in prison, 5 years of supervised release, and $199,666 in restitution for Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft. BOOKER was a loan officer at a Bellevue mortgage company. She provided ID theft ring leader Charles W. Griffin, with personal financial information on people who had applied for a mortgage at her company. At her sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Ricardo told BOOKER, “you violated a sacred trust. People who are coming to a mortgage company are forced to turn over all their financial information. They are totally exposed... and you allowed them to be ripped off.”

Griffin recruited BOOKER. She supplied Griffin with the personal and financial information on at least 16 different people who had applied for mortgages at the Bellevue company. Similarly, Griffin recruited Raynette Armstrong, 31, of Seattle, who worked at a Bellevue escrow firm. Armstrong also provided Griffin with personal and financial information on clients of the escrow firm. Using this information, Griffin and other conspirators were able to locate the victims’ bank accounts and other personal financial information. Last week, Griffin was sentenced to more than 7 years in prison and Armstrong was sentenced to 5 years of probation.

Other co-conspirators made counterfeit drivers licenses using the names and information of the victims, but bearing the photographs of the co-conspirators. Griffin worked with a number of other co-conspirators to use the fake IDs to pose as bank account holders. The conspirators traveled to various banks in Oregon and Washington to drain bank accounts. The conspirators also opened credit accounts and racked up huge charges at large stores such as Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart. They also hit jewelry stores such as Friedlanders and International Jewelers.

In his sentencing memo on the ID theft ring, Assistant United States Attorney Norman Barbosa quotes one of the victims of the ring saying, “These people have ruined my life and my credit for a very long time. We spent hours and hours trying to solve all of this, not counting the money and all of the frustration that my family had to go through with this ordeal.” When it was her turn to address the judge, BOOKER told the court, “I can’t imagine what these people (the victims) have gone through.... I am truly, truly sorry.”

These cases are the result of an 18 month investigation by a joint task force composed of the Social Security Office of Inspector General, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), United States Probation, the Lynwood Police Department, the King County Sheriff's Office and the Seattle Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Norman Barbosa and Mark Parrent.

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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