Ex-Assemblyman Carl Washington arrested by FBI

Carl Edward Washington, who was a Democrat in the Assembly from the 52nd district, was arrested Monday on federal charges that he defrauded Farmers and Merchants Bank, First City Credit Union, and LA Financial Credit Union out of thousands of dollars by falsely claiming to be the victim of identity theft. Washington, 47, works for the Los Angeles County Probation Department. From the office of U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. (paragraph breaks added):

Washington 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 would obtain 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 these purchases, Washington would allegedly 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.

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.

This may not be the strangest press release I received today regarding crime by county probation employees. In response to Washingtnm's arrest, the department scheduled a press conference to update the media "on more than 40 arrests of employees since January 1st, including today’s FBI arrest of a Probation executive. These arrests coincide with a year-long internal review of staff misconduct and serve to help raise the Probation Department’s employment standards and practices." Further:

The Probation Department is currently assisting in a number of criminal investigations involving Probation employees. Chief Jerry Powers will talk about the scope of the investigations, what the Probation Department is doing to raise professional standards, including the addition of nearly a dozen new investigators and attorneys and new screening technologies to be used in hiring new employees.

Washington was elected to the Assembly from Compton in 1996 after serving as a deputy to county Supervisor Yvonne Burke.

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