ID THEFT RING INDICTED FOR USING STOLEN IDENTITIES TO RUN UP MORE THAN $125,000 IN “INSTANT CREDIT” CHARGES
Last of Five Defendants to Make First Appearance at 1:30 Today
Five fraud defendants, including a mother and her daughter, are indicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle in a 23 count superseding indictment charging multiple counts of Bank Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Misuse of Social Security Numbers. Those named in the superseding indictment are GORDON ROBERT BURRAGE, 45, of Federal Way, Washington, STEPHANIE LEAANN LOCKE, 29, of Burien, Washington, and JEANIA ANDREA DYSON, 35, VALORIE ALMETA DADE, 58, and DADE’s daughter, LAKAIA CHERIE DADE, 35, all of Seattle, Washington. LAKAIA DADE will make her initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle at 1:30 today.
According to the superseding indictment filed in the case, the group used other people’s personal identifying information, such as social security number and date of birth, to open “instant credit” accounts at a number of retail stores including Kohl’s, Sears, J.C. Penney’s, and Car Toys. In at least one instance the identity was obtained during a car prowl, and forged identity documents were manufactured. The defendants then applied for instant credit accounts, which were usually approved the very same day, and then purchased merchandise or gift cards using the instant credit account at retail stores. Fortunately, several victims whose identities had been stolen, quickly contacted the retail stores and asked that the stores retain surveillance video. This allowed investigators to obtain the surveillance video at various retail outlets showing the fraud, and ultimately allowing them to quickly identify suspects. Some of the suspects have previous convictions for similar frauds. The investigation shows that, in total, there are upwards of 30 victims, all of whom had their Social Security numbers misused to open instant credit accounts.
Three defendants are being held at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, one is being held at the Snohomish County Jail, and LOCKE is released on supervision. Trial is scheduled for June 15, 2009.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Bank Fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. Misuse of a Social Security Number is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Aggravated Identity Theft is punishable by a two year sentence that must run consecutive to the sentence imposed on any other count of conviction.
The group is being prosecuted as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Working Group on Identity Theft. The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Aravind Swaminathan.
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