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Washington Fraud Laws

Posted by Tamara

Violations of Washington fraud laws are in the news this week with two stories involving identity theft and fraud.

In the first news item, three borrowers were charged with felony theft and identity theft under the Washington fraud laws.  Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that his office has filed first-degree theft charges and identity theft charges against three individuals accused of using falsely obtained social security numbers to get residential mortgage loans.

The Attorney General’s Criminal Division Financial Crimes Unit charged Pedro Juarez Romero with three counts of first-degree theft and one count of identity theft. Also charged in separate cases were Miguel Juarez Romero and Juana Vega Perez, husband and wife. All three entered pleas of not guilty during their respective arraignments Oct. 19 in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine under Washington fraud laws. The charges were brought at the request of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions.

The Attorney General’s Office alleges that Pedro Juarez Romero used a falsely obtained social security number to get two separate residential mortgages and a home equity line of credit. The social security number used by Pedro Juarez Romero was lawfully issued to a California resident. The social security numbers used by Miguel Juarez Romero and Juana Vega Perez were lawfully issued to Washington and Idaho residents.

In a separate story, a Vancouver, Washington auto dealership was sentenced today after pleading guilty to first degree theft of sales tax and 18 counts of filing false or fraudulent tax returns.

According to the indictment, Rex Motors, Incorporated, claimed out-of-state sales of vehicles by forging customer signatures on delivery certificates from December 2002 through December 2005. An audit uncovered the scheme to avoid paying Washington’s taxes by falsifying monthly tax returns between August 2004 and January 2006, including unlawfully taking a business and occupation (B&O) tax deduction for out-of-state sales. Once the scheme was discovered and the judicial process began, it compelled the dealership to provide the state with access to its files, and the owner cooperated.

Alan Webb, owner of Rex Motors, Incorporated in Vancouver, Washington entered the guilty pleas on behalf of the corporation. Clark County Superior Court Judge John F. Nichols ordered the corporation to pay the Washington State Department of Revenue $243,121 in restitution, including unremitted taxes, fees, penalties and assessments, plus a $200,500 fine for penalties and assessments.

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