News and Press Releases

Using Forged Documents Ring Stole Nearly $100,000 from Area Banks and Customers

February 6, 2009

RICHARD LORETO VALMONTE, 30, of Snohomish County, was sentenced today in Seattle by U.S. District Judge Richard Jones to 45 months in prison, four years of supervised release, and over $99,000 in restitution for Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, Social Security Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. From August 2007, until his arrest on August 18, 2008, VALMONTE and his co-conspirators used a variety of schemes to defraud banks and financial institutions of more than $98,000.

According to records filed in the case, VALMONTE and his co-conspirators used stolen identity information to create fake documents to raid bank accounts and purchase cars. VALMONTE and the others used counterfeit driver licenses, a passport, and military identification cards, to open checking accounts and deposit stolen and forged checks in order to artificially inflate the account balances, and then withdraw money from the accounts before the financial institutions determined the checks were worthless. They used these stolen identities and counterfeit documents to obtain cash and loans to purchase a 2004 Mercedes Benz C230 and a 2001 BMW 325. The bank fraud ring defrauded U.S. Bank, First Security Bank, Qualstar Credit Union, AlaskaUSA Federal Credit Union, Wachovia Dealer Services, Inc., Group Health Credit Union, Costco, Citifinancial, Boeing Employees Credit Union, and Bank of America.

VALMONTE was sentenced to 21 months in prison for the Conspiracy and Social Security Fraud charges and a consecutive 24 months for Aggravated Identity Theft for a total of 45 months in prison. VALMONTE is a citizen of the Philippines and may be deported following his prison term.

The case was investigated by Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG) and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Johanna Vanderlee. Ms. Vanderlee’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 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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