Man Who Impersonated FBI Agents to Steal from Area Businesses Charged with Federal Crimes
Law Enforcement Seeks to Identify Any Additional Victims of Seattle Area Man who Posed as FBI Agent using Names from Novels and Movies
A Lake Stevens, Washington man who used fake credentials in the names of fictional characters or famous fraudsters to commit crimes was charged with seven federal felonies today, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. STEVEN W. FISHER, 43, was transferred from the King County Jail to federal custody and will appear today at 2:00 p.m. in U. S. District Court in Seattle, charged with one count of robbery, five counts of impersonation of a federal officer, and one count of attempted robbery. Law enforcement is still investigating this string of crimes and is asking anyone who may have been victimized to contact Seattle Police at 206 684-5540.
According to the criminal complaint, on January 25, 2017, FISHER gained access to the secure area of a small money transmitting business in Seattle’s Central District by claiming he was an FBI agent investigating a suspicious transaction. FISHER flashed a badge, and handed the owner a ‘search warrant’ signed by ‘Frank Abagnale’ -- a famous serial fraudster portrayed in the movie “Catch me if you can.” The warrant was purchased off of the website Legalfakes.com. FISHER then pulled a gun on the owner and demanded he open the safe. FISHER left with a large amount of cash and took the computer equipment which contained any surveillance photographs from the security system.
FISHER was identified as the suspect following a series of incidents in July and August, 2017 at a different money transmitting business in the Rainer Valley. In that incident, FISHER used the name “Jack Ryan,” a character in Tom Clancy novels. FISHER asked the manager of the money transmitting business to meet him at a nearby parking lot to discuss information that someone was planning on robbing his business. FISHER tried to get the manager to describe the surveillance cameras at the business and suggested he remove cash from the business. The manager instead called 9-1-1 and reported the suspicious conduct to police. One month later, when FISHER showed up at the money transmitting business, again claiming to be an FBI Agent, the manager hit the panic alarm and Seattle Police officers arrived to question FISHER. FISHER was taken into custody and court authorized searches of his car, storage locker, and briefcase turned up fake federal credentials, a realistic appearing airsoft pistol with silencer, and paperwork tying him to the earlier robbery.
Other possible crimes tied to this suspect remain under investigation, including the burglary of a SeaTac small business which offers money transmitting services. In June 2017, a man later identified as FISHER visited the business and identified himself as an FBI agent. The ‘agent’ claimed he was looking for surveillance footage because of a crime in the area. Because the store owner was suspicious about whether FISHER was actually an FBI agent, he simply said the surveillance cameras were not working. In the early morning hours following that encounter the store was burglarized and cash, checks and phones were stolen.
Law enforcement is seeking to identify any other business that may have been targeted by FISHER posing as an FBI agent. Anyone with suspicious encounters is asked to contact 206 684-5540.
The charges contained in the criminal complaint 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.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Seattle Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca Cohen.