News and Press Releases

Defendant Abused Name Change System to Repeatedly Defraud Banks and Merchants

January 15, 2010

LEON LETROY ANDERSON, 33, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 27 months in prison, five years of supervised release, and about $100,000 in restitution for Bank Fraud. ANDERSON was prosecuted as part of a wide ranging investigation called “The Name Game,” that uncovered people abusing the Washington State District Court name change system to facilitate bank fraud. A key player in the scheme, Curtis Craft, was sentenced last year to seven years in prison. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said, “This is a very serious offense.... You were persistent in it for a long time.”

According to filings in the case, between March 2000, and May 2008, ANDERSON legally changed his name a dozen times. After the name change, ANDERSON would get a driver’s license in the new name, and use it and a false Social Security Number to open a bank account. He would inflate the bank account balance by depositing checks written on an account he had opened in his previous name. Before the checks could clear he would make purchases or withdraw cash. By the time the bank was informed that the deposits were made with worthless checks, ANDERSON had already succeeded in defrauding merchants and the bank. Over the course of the scheme he defrauded 71 victims out of about $100,000. ANDERSON was finally stopped on May 29, 2008, when workers at a gas station spotted him and co-schemer Curtis Craft. Craft has written multiple NSF checks at the station in a variety of names. The gas station workers spotted the men in a parking lot near the gas station and alerted police to the cars they were driving. The men were arrested and additional documents related to the scheme were seized when police searched their cars.

In asking for a prison term, Assistant United States Attorney Arlen Storm cited the extensive length of the fraud scheme. ANDERSON “took the extraordinary step of legally changing his name on 12 occasions. At the end of the day, he had stolen approximately $100,000 from scores of businesses, both large and small, and three banks,” Mr. Storm wrote in his sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG) and the King County Sheriff’s Office.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arlen Storm as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office working group on Identity Theft.

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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