DIAMOND WENDELL ALEXANDER, JR., 30, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced June 17, 2011, to five years in prison, five years of supervised release, and more than $220,000 in restitution for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. ALEXANDER was the leader of a bank fraud ring that corrupted an employee of Seattle Municipal Court, and convinced her to supply credit card numbers and other personally identifying information for people who had used a credit card to pay parking and traffic fines. The group also used information stolen from a fast food restaurant. ALEXANDER and his cohorts used this information to run up charges on the victim’s accounts, committing identity theft and bank fraud. At the sentencing hearing Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik noted the devastating impact identity theft has on individual victims, even when the banks take the financial loss.
According to filings in the case, ALEXANDER led the fraud scheme involving his wife and three other defendants. ALEXANDER’s wife recruited an employee of Seattle Municipal Court to steal credit card receipts. Another defendant stole credit card information from the fast food restaurant where he worked. These receipts were then used to make fake credit cards, which ring members used to purchase goods at a variety of stores. The scheme was first detected when ALEXANDER’s wife was pulled over by police and had numerous credit card receipts from Seattle Municipal Court in her purse. ALEXANDER was arrested in January 2010, and pleaded guilty in February 2011.
“People need to trust their public institutions, particularly the courts. These defendants defrauded people on many levels. They are now being held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
Three co-defendants have already been sentenced in the case. ALEXANDER’s wife, Crystal Loren Lee, 24, of Seattle, was sentenced to three years in prison and five years of supervised release. Cassie Louise St. Cyr, 35, of Bothell, Washington, was sentenced to 28 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Timur Rashiel Harris, 21, of Des Moines, Washington, was sentenced to two days in prison and five years of supervised release. The former employee of Seattle Municipal Court will be sentenced later this year.
Because of the fraud and investigation, the Seattle Municipal Court has made changes to protect customer information. The court reviewed its internal controls, including cash handling procedures, and removed the first 12-digit credit card numbers from their records.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Secret Service, the King County Sheriff’s Office, the Bonney Lake Police Department, and the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or [email protected].
Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington