A 47-year-old employee and former assemblyman was arrested in connection with defrauding three banks out of thousands of dollars, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Monday.
Carl Edward Washington, a former democratic California State Assemblyman for California’s 52nd district, was arrested by FBI agents on charges that he defrauded Farmers and Merchants Bank, First City Credit Union, and LA Financial Credit Union out of thousands by falsely claiming to be the victim of identity theft, officials said.
"These recent arrests should served as a clear message that this chief -- and this probation department -- will not tolerate criminal behavior by staff," Probation Department Chief Jerry Powers said in a statement. "This is a law enforcement agency, and as such we will hold ourselves to a higher standard both on and off duty."
Washington was most recently employed by the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
He was charged with three counts of bank fraud and three counts of making a false statement to a federally insured financial institution.
The indictment alleges that Washington obtained credit cards and loans from financial institutions that he used to purchase several thousand dollars worth of goods and services.
After using the credit cards to make the purchases, Washington allegedly filed a police report with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, falsely claiming to be the victim of identity theft, and reporting that the credit cards and loans had been opened by someone else, officials said.
The indictment alleges that Washington would 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, Washington allegedly 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.
If the new credit cards applications were approved by the banks, Washington would run up several thousand dollars more worth of debt and file another police report claiming that the new credit cards were the result of identity theft, according to the indictment.
The indictment alleges that Washington did make several payments towards 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.
The arrest was part of a year-long internal review into alleged staff misconduct that has resulted in more than 40 arrests since the start of this year, officials said.