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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 28, 2014

Operator of ‘Mobile ID Theft Lab’ Sentenced to Prison for Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft

Hub Of ID Theft Activity In Snohomish County Using Stolen Identity Documents

            The man who forged multiple ID documents and financial documents for mail thieves in Snohomish County was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 65 months in prison, five years of supervised release and $59,177 in restitution, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  MICHAEL JOHN SURYAN, 54, formerly of Everett, Washington was arrested in January 2013, in a Shoreline, Washington motel where he had set up a mobile identity manufacturing operation.  Using documents his co-schemers stole from burglaries, mail thefts and car prowls, SURYAN manufactured fake IDs, and forged checks with the co-schemers listed as the payees.  A search of the room revealed more than 50 fake Washington State driver’s licenses, handwritten notes listing the names, addresses and personal information (including dates of birth, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and credit card or checking account information) for numerous victims.  In all the evidence revealed the identities of more than 200 people had been stolen.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones noted SURYAN was addicted to methamphetamine but his greed and his crime “had a grave impact on the citizens of the community.”

            According to records filed in the case, SURYAN and several co-schemers used stolen identity information to commit various types of bank fraud.  SURYAN would make false checks payable to the co-schemers in their real names, and would also make checks payable to those whose identities had been stolen, providing his co-schemers with fake drivers’ licenses that matched the names on the checks.  The stolen checks recovered in the hotel room exceeded $50,000 in value.  SURYAN also opened lines of credit in victims’ names at various department stores and made more than $30,000 in purchases.  The total monetary loss from the scheme was nearly $113,000.

            In asking for a lengthy prison sentence, prosecutors noted that SURYAN’s operation not only enriched him, but also helped thieves and burglars profit from the information they stole.  SURYAN “served as a lynchpin of identity theft activity in Snohomish County in the latter half of 2012; the forgery service provided by the defendant helped incentivize countless break-ins of mailboxes, homes, and vehicles by criminals searching for victim data.  Moreover, the defendant did not provide his services as a forger for free; the defendant’s business model depended entirely on thieves’ continued victimization of the community,” prosecutors wrote in their 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 Ehren Reynolds.

Updated March 20, 2015