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Press Release

New York pair indicted for $1.4 million bank fraud scheme that victimized customers across the U.S.

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Used victims’ personal information to open business bank accounts, linked them to established personal accounts, and drained victim funds

Seattle – A couple from New York state are in custody tonight following their indictment for a nationwide bank fraud scheme, some of which was executed in Seattle, announced U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Amber Towndrow, 35, and Darby Canfield, 34, were indicted by a Seattle federal grand jury on April 3, 2024. Towndrow is currently incarcerated for drug possession in New York. Canfield was apprehended in New York and is being transferred to the Western District of Washington for arraignment on the indictment.

“These defendants are alleged to have cunningly and systematically drained victim bank accounts and cashed them out before anyone could stop them,” said U.S. Attorney Gorman. “While they traveled the country committing this fraud, it was investigators here in Western Washington who put the information together to understand and to prosecute this significant fraud scheme.”

According to the indictment, Towndrow and Canfield acquired personal identifying information for a number of victims nationwide. In Western Washington, the two used that personal information to register businesses with the Washington Secretary of State. Armed with the business documents and false identification documents such as drivers’ licenses and passports, Towndrow would open business bank accounts at financial institutions where the victim already had a personal savings account. The bank system would link the new business bank account to the real customer’s bank account. The conspirators would then transfer money from the personal bank account to the business account. Towndrow would then use a business account debit card to purchase money orders and high value goods such as designer merchandise or electronics. Canfield and other conspirators would use various fake IDs to cash the money orders at locations such as Money Tree outlets.

The indictment details how Towndrow set up a business called “Smitty Consulting Inc.,” listed a Colorado victim as a registered owner, and opened the business bank account using a Seattle address. After the business account linked to the victim’s personal account, Towndrow transferred funds to the business account and used the business debit card to purchase 128 U.S. Postal Service money orders totaling $126,653. The money orders were made payable to various people the co-schemers could impersonate with their fake IDs. Canfield then cashed several of the money orders at various locations in the Seattle area.

The indictment alleges similar conduct regarding victims residing in Texas, Colorado, and New York. Some of the businesses were “registered” and used for fraud in Indiana, with others “registered” and used for fraud in Colorado. The investigation into the scope of the fraud continues.

In addition to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, the pair are charged with seven counts of bank fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft and three counts of money laundering.

Conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and bank fraud are punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Money laundering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory minimum two years in prison consecutive to any other sentence imposed in the case.

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. Postal Inspection Service, the Diplomatic Security Service, and the Seattle Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sean Waite.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated April 18, 2024

Consumer Protection
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft