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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 26, 2015

Members of Large Bank Fraud Ring Indicted

Used Stolen Checks To Inflate Account Balances And Withdraw Cash

            A large bank fraud ring responsible for nearly a million dollars in fraud was indicted this week in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, announced Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  Ten defendants are named in the indictment for fraud on seven different financial institutions.  The indictment alleges that between November of 2010 and the present, the co-schemers used 219 different bank accounts to steal more than $987,000 from the banks.  Eightof the defendants are in custody.  Seven made their initial appearances in U.S. District Court today.  Two defendants are still being sought, and one defendant is in state custody and will make his appearance next week.

            According to the indictment, the defendants allegedly used stolen checks to make fraudulent deposits into various bank accounts.  Using debit cards, the co-schemers would withdraw large amounts of cash before the bank determined the check used to inflate the balance was no good.  Some of the people whose bank accounts were inflated were complicit in the fraud, allowing the co-schemers to use their debit cards.  According to law enforcement records, many of the checks were stolen in car prowls and then used for the fraud.  The victim banks include: Bank of America, Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU), TwinStar Credit Union, Wells Fargo Bank, Sound Credit Union, Key Bank, and Banner Bank.  All are federally insured financial institutions.

            The 60 count indictment charges the defendants with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft for the fraudulent use of the debit cards.  The defendants named in the indictment are:

CLAYTON LEON BIAS, JR., 25, Kent, Washington
ARTHUR NAPOLEAND WILCHER, 29, Tacoma, Washington
CALVIN DEWAYNE DAVIS, 26, Federal Way, Washington
OKILA AYANNA MALAYKA ULMER, 31, Renton, Washington
AMANDA RAE RIFFLE, 28, Tacoma, Washington
RELONNA DOLLINN WARD,  34, Tacoma, Washington
AVERY EDWARD LEE, 32, Milton, Washington
JOHNATHAN MARQUIEL TURNER, 22, Federal Way, Washington
SHAWN ANDRE TURNER, 24, Kent, Washington
SEPHORA QUILYN WATKINS, 27, Tacoma, Washington

            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.

            The case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Hampton.

Updated March 20, 2015