Ex-Lawmaker, LA County Probation Official Indicted On Bank Fraud Charges
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A former state lawmaker who worked for the Los Angeles County Probation Department was the latest official on Monday to be arrested as part of a yearlong internal review into charges of alleged staff misconduct in the department.
KNX 1070’s Charles Feldman reports the arrest of former Assemblyman Carl Edward Washington, a former Baptist minister, is the most recent in a string of more than 40 since the start of this year.
Washington, 47, a department executive manager, began serving in 1996 as state assemblyman for the 52nd District, which represents the cities of Compton, Paramount and Willowbrook.
An indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court (PDF) alleges that Washington would obtain credit cards and loans from financial institutions to purchase thousands of dollars worth of goods and services.
After using the credit cards to make these purchases, Washington would file a police report with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department falsely claiming to be the victim of identity theft and report that the credit cards and loans had been opened by someone else, according to Assistant United States Attorney Douglas M. Miller.
Washington would then allegedly provide a copy of the bogus police report to Experian, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, and have them remove the credit cards and loans, many of which had substantial unpaid balances and past due amounts, from his credit report.
Once Experian removed the items from Washington’s credit report, he would send out applications for new credit cards without disclosing to the banks his outstanding debts or the fact that he had information relating to those debts removed from his credit report, the indictment alleged.
If the new credit cards applications were approved by the banks, Washington would run up more debt and file another police report claiming that the new credit cards were the result of identity theft, according to prosecutors.
The indictment alleges that Washington did make several payments toward the credit cards before claiming they were the result of identity theft, including payments from the same bank account into which Washington was having salary from the Los Angeles County Probation Department, his current employer, directly deposited.
Washington faces six counts of bank fraud, each of which carries a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison.
There have been dozens of other arrests at the department stemming from everything from insurance fraud to drunk driving charges — arrests that probation department chief Jerry Powers said could likely continue through the remainder of the year.
“You’re probably looking at somewhere around 60 arrests,” Powers said.