News and Press Releases

Defendant Manufactured Fake Checks and ID for Fraud Ring

June 9, 2010

CRAIG ALLEN GALEY, 35, of Everett, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 40 months in prison, five years for supervised release and $45,047 in restitution for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Between August 2008 and his arrest in August 2009, GALEY was at the center of a Snohomish County ID theft ring that used the identities of some 70 people to commit fraud. U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez imposed the sentence.

According to records in the case, GALEY worked with a number of co-schemers to commit bank fraud by creating fake checks and identification documents. The cohorts would burglarize cars, homes, businesses and mailboxes to obtain personal identity information. Initially, GALEY created fake payroll checks using legitimate bank routing numbers. Conspirators cashed the checks at casinos and paid about 30 percent of the proceeds to GALEY. In November 2008, one of the co-schemers was arrested as she was leaving GALEY’s Everett apartment with a variety of fake checks and identities. When Everett Police executed a search warrant on GALEY’s apartment they found a a veritable ID-making laboratory, including computers, printers, scanners, laminators, various gels and powders for replicating the holograms on Washington State driver’s licenses. On GALEY’s computer they found templates for making Washington Driver’s Licenses. They also found information on more than 100 businesses and individuals.

GALEY dropped out of site after the search, and wasn’t located by law enforcement until another co-conspirator was arrested with fake identification documents and checks in August 2009. GALEY was arrested at a mobile home park in Lynnwood. GALEY was indicted in September 2009, and pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft on February 11, 2010.

In his memo asking for a significant sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Diggs highlights the damage to those whose identities were stolen. “Identity theft is a serious crime whose victims suffer lasting consequences. As victim J.J. remarked, upon learning that his identity had been compromised by Galey’s scheme, “I am extremely alarmed to find that I have been violated in such a way.” In fashioning its sentence, the Court should take into account the burden shouldered by identity theft victims who were forced to untangle their financial lives as a result of Mr. Galey and his associates,” Mr. Diggs wrote in his sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by the Everett Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Diggs 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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