You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
December 3, 2013 at 3:52 PM
The former executive director of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee (SDCC) was sentenced this afternoon to 25 1/2 months for embezzling up to $330,000 in campaign contributions to fuel his alcohol and gambling habits.
Michael King was ordered to spend half of that time in prison, where he will be required to undergo treatment for alcohol and gambling addictions. The other half will be spent in community custody, the state’s version of parole. If he violates terms of his release he will be sent back to prison to serve out the rest of the sentence.
King must also pay $250,000 in restitution.
King, 32, pleaded guilty in October to four counts of first-degree theft and four counts of second-degree theft just one week after he was charged by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
King, who doesn’t have a previous criminal history, admitted to the thefts when he was interviewed by Seattle police on June 5, according to charging papers. He was able to swindle the campaign fund by requesting reimbursement for faked expenses, the charges say.
The charges indicate King began embezzling on March 28, 2011, weeks after he was hired as executive director of the statewide organization that was established to help Democratic incumbents and candidates win election to the state Senate. But the ongoing thefts weren’t uncovered until after the November 2012 election when King sought to be reimbursed for thousands of dollars he said had been paid to online polling and auto-dialing companies, the charges say.
With suspicions aroused, the SDCC board hired a law firm to conduct an investigation, which found King had been depositing campaign money into his own bank account, the charges say. The board members contacted police.
After King signed a release to allow detectives access to his bank records, they found he had made multiple withdrawals at area casinos, including Goldie’s in Shoreline, the Tulalip Casino in Marysville and the Silver Dollar Casino in SeaTac, according to charging documents.
November 25, 2013 at 2:30 PM
Update at 4:30 p.m.:|
The wheelchair has been found after the family put up fliers in their neighborhood, according to Seattle police.
Police say that someone called in an anonymous tip reporting the wheelchair had been found in a backyard. It’s unclear whether the tipster was the thief or a good Samaritan.
Someone stole a wheelchair belonging to a 4-year-old girl from outside her Seattle home, police said.
Seattle police were called to the home in the 1700 block of 13th Avenue South Saturday morning after a mother called 911 to report that someone had stolen the girl’s wheelchair. The mother told officers the family had last seen the wheelchair at 2 a.m. after they left it at the bottom of the stairs outside their home.
The mother told officers the wheelchair was built to the specific measurements for her daughter, and said she had no idea why anyone would steal it.
The wheelchair is black and has stroller-style handlebars and a hand brake, police said.
November 8, 2013 at 3:59 PM
A King County jury today found David A. Johnson guilty of three dozen criminal charges related to the theft of funds from a Seattle Public School District program designed to assist minority-owned businesses in receiving school-district contracts.
Johnson was convicted of 30 counts of first-degree theft and six counts of second-degree theft, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. He will face a sentence range of 43 to 57 months in prison when he’s sentenced Jan. 10.
Co-defendant Silas Potter, who pleaded guilty in April to 36 counts of theft, will also face a sentence of 43 to 57 months when he is sentenced Nov. 15. Potter testified against Johnson during his trial, which started last month in King County Superior Court.
As the head of the school district’s Regional Small Business Development Program from 2006 to 2010, Potter oversaw efforts to teach minority and women-owned businesses how to better compete for public contracts. In his plea agreement, Potter admitted he approved dozens of school-district checks paying for services from a Tacoma nonprofit called Grace of Mercy, while “knowing no work had been completed.”
In return, Potter said he received some of that money back from Johnson, who ran the nonprofit, which billed the district for classes it was supposedly teaching to small-business owners.
It all came crashing down in 2011 after a state audit found Potter had abused his authority and potentially squandered millions of dollars in public money.
Auditors discovered Potter’s program had spent $280,000 for work that was not done or didn’t benefit the district — including the payments to Grace of Mercy — and $1.5 million more for services that were poorly documented or of questionable value.
A follow-up audit last year turned up $1.3 million more in suspicious payments, finding Potter had approved inflated invoices to vendors charging double or even 10 times the usual rate for services.
The audits and a related school-district report portrayed an office that Potter had turned into a personal fiefdom, doling out public contracts to favored vendors while spending time on school computers looking at computer dating and gambling sites. His conduct was abetted, the reports found, by superiors who failed to rein him in despite warnings.
The fallout led the Seattle School Board to fire then-Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson.
A third defendant in the case, Lorrie Kay Sorensen, pleaded guilty last year to one count of first-degree theft.
November 5, 2013 at 11:08 AM
The Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho — A Las Vegas man targeted at least 21 ATM machines in western states as part of a crime spree involving the theft of $124,000 in cash and tens of thousands of dollars in damage to the equipment, a federal prosecutor said.
Clarence Edward Lancaster, 57, appeared in U.S. District Court in Boise on Monday and pleaded guilty to one count of bank larceny after authorities said he pried open an ATM on a college campus in Twin Falls.
As part of his deal with prosecutors, he acknowledged other ATM thefts from June 2012 through January 2013, in Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Utah, Oregon and Arizona, U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said in a press release following the plea.
The thefts involved some $124,000 in U.S. currency, $88,000 in damages caused to the machines, and $3,600 in property damage to buildings and equipment.
Lancaster was arrested in Arizona on Jan. 21 after a music instructor at Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher saw a man walking toward an area in a closed building where an ATM machine was located. The instructor, who was rehearsing with students in the building closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, recorded the man’s license plate and turned it over to police. Lancaster was later stopped and arrested in his Cadillac Escalade.
October 24, 2013 at 1:53 PM
The Associated Press
Eight people have been indicted — and two of them arrested — in connection with what federal prosecutors describe as a $1.5 million bank fraud scheme back in 2005 and 2006.
According to an indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Thursday, the defendants used credit-card transaction devices to impersonate stores, including McDonald’s franchises and a dog daycare in Seattle, and loaded money from the businesses onto prepaid debit cards. They then traveled to casinos in Washington and Nevada to withdraw the money from the cards.
Two of the defendants, Robert Antoin Hunter and Dion Marcus Turner, were arrested in the Seattle area Thursday and were scheduled to appear in federal court. It was not immediately clear if they had obtained lawyers.
October 24, 2013 at 12:02 PM
How low can you go?
In he case of one teen, apparently pretty low.
Seattle police say the same young thief has twice robbed a woman in a wheelchair of her iPad in the past few days.
The woman first called police at about 8 p.m. Oct. 13 and said she had been sitting outside her building near North 130th Street and Linden Avenue North, using her iPad Mini, when a teen ran up behind her, grabbed the iPad and took off. Officers weren’t able to find the thief and the woman was unable to track the iPad, police said.
Just before 11:30 last night, the same woman called police and said she had just been robbed outside her building of her new iPad by someone she believes was the same thief. She could only provide a vague description, police said.
October 17, 2013 at 9:38 AM
The Associated Press
YAKIMA — The Yakima County sheriff’s office says the theft of 1,000 feet of CenturyLink fiber optic and copper cable has knocked out phone service in part of the county.
The sheriff’s office says there’s no phone service for the Gleed area and no 911 service for Naches, White Pass and CenturyLink customers on Chinook Pass.
The outage is expected to last two days.
October 9, 2013 at 6:52 PM
The Associated Press
SPOKANE — Most of the 58 laptop computers stolen from an elementary school in the Spokane suburb of Mead have been recovered, thanks to a deputy’s sleuthing and the mother of three young boys.
Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Rogers was investigating the $69,000 burglary discovered Tuesday at Evergreen Elementary when he sifted through service calls from the night before. He found a call about children missing from a home near the school.
Rogers interviewed the three boys — ages 8, 14 and 15 — and they denied knowing anything about the theft.
KXLY-TV reports the boys’ mother called him back to the home and this time the boys confessed to stealing the computers.
The sheriff’s office said Wednesday that 52 of the 58 have been recovered. Deputies are working to find the other six; apparently there’s one more suspect.
October 9, 2013 at 1:39 PM
Dozens of laptop computers were stolen during an overnight burglary at Evergreen Elementary School in Mead earlier this week, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said.
A janitor at the school reported two alarms overnight Monday into Tuesday, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release. Neither of the alarms turned up evidence of a burglary. But when school officials arrived Tuesday morning for work, they discovered 58 MacBook Air laptop computers missing from two classrooms, according to the release. Deputies found no evidence of forced entry into the school or classrooms.
The Mead School District estimates losses at more than $69,000, according to The Spokesman-Review of Spokane.
The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about the theft to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS or online at crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org. A cash reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.
October 4, 2013 at 3:59 PM
A 56-year-old Connecticut businessman who insures golf tournament hole-in-one prizes, but has a history of failing to pay, pleaded guilty Friday in King County Superior Court to one count of first-degree theft and two counts of selling insurance without a license.
According to the plea deal, King County prosecutors will recommend Kevin Kolenda, of Norwalk, Conn., be sentenced to three months in jail with credit for time he’s already served so long as he pays $15,000 in restitution by his Nov. 22 sentencing date. If he fails to pay the $15,000 before sentencing, prosecutors will recommend he be sentenced to eight months in jail.
After sentencing, Kolenda is to pay another $20,000 in restitution, according to the deal.
The money will go to two men: $10,000 will be paid to Portland man who organized a golf tournament in Vancouver, Wash., in 2004. He was forced to pay a $10,000 deductible to another insurance carrier when Kolenda, who had sold the man hole-in-one insurance, refused to pay a $50,000 prize to a golfer who scored an ace.
A second man, who scored a hole-in-one during a 2010 golf tournament in Snohomish County, will receive the remaining $25,000 — the amount of prize money Kolenda reneged on paying after selling insurance to tournament organizers.
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) first issued a cease and desist order against Kolenda in 2004, barring him from “illegal solicitation and transaction of unauthorized insurance,” court records show. Investigators from the office brought the criminal case to prosecutors.
Kolenda was arrested in Connecticut in September 2012 on the King County charges, and was extradited to Washington that December. He spent about a week in the King County Jail before posting a $50,000 bond, jail records show.
In 2009, Connecticut officials fined Kolenda $5.9 million for illegally offering insurance without a license.
He faces similar allegations in Montana, Ohio, Georgia, California, New York, Hawaii, Alabama, Massachusetts, Florida,and North Carolina, according to a news release from the OIC.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
Trending with readers