Spokane Deputies: Not Sure How ID Thieves Victimized 300 People - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane Deputies: Not Sure How ID Thieves Victimized 300 People

Posted: Updated:

SPOKANE, Wash. - One month after a multi-agency task force raided five homes in what's been called the most extensive identity theft ring in Spokane, investigators are still no closer to finding out exactly how the thieves obtained victims' personal information.

Spokane County Sheriff's Spokesperson, Deputy Craig Chamberlin, told KHQ on Wednesday that detectives are continuing to track down leads to find out how a loosely-knit group of criminals stole identities from 300 people nationwide.

John Mosby was one of the victims. In his four decades running luxury rental businesses, Mr. Tux and Spokane Limousine, he'd never seen anything like this.

"It always questions the integrity of the business," Mosby said. "We've been around 40 years between Mr. Tux and Spokane Limousine."

Mosby said a former book-keeper threw a book of the company's checks into a trash without shredding them first. The checking account was closed but that was all the crooks needed. Court documents show 24-year-old Michael Clarke Jr., along with a twisted web of alleged accomplices, went to work passing thousands of dollars in bad checks at places like 7-11 and Money Tree. In all, Mosby said, they tried to pass $28,000 worth of checks from Spokane Limousine's account.

"We all make mistakes but it shows you how accessible we are today to the identity theft we all worry about," Mosby continued.

Documents show the scheme was massive. Investigators identified more than 300 victims and said all had their identity stolen by Clarke. According to detectives, victims are located all over the United States and many of them are active military members. The majority of the victims have had fraudulent credit card accounts opened by Clarke, who then charged thousands of dollars on the fraudulently obtained credit cards.

The house of cards came tumbling down in October 11, 2012 when a multi-agency task force raided close to half a dozen homes and arrested two people, including Clarke, in what was one of the most extensive ID ring busts ever.

Members of the Spokane County Sheriff's Office Investigative Task Force (ITF), Investigative Support Unit (ISU), Spokane Police Department, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Social Security Administration and a U.S. Postal Inspector served five search warrants at homes in Spokane City and Spokane County. The warrants were served at residences near the 1600 block of East Decatur, the 3800 block of East 36th, the 600 block of South Altamont, the 1900 block of North Waldo and the 4200 block of North Burns.

Clarke was arrested at his home near 36th and Rebecca and later charged with four counts of Forgery, one count of 2nd Degree Theft and one count of Money Laundering.

"Somewhere you're going to get caught down the road," Mosby said.

Mosby was tipped off after receiving a call from a check cashing company. In the end, he got lucky. Mosby said Spokane Limousine never lost a dime thanks to diligent employees at the check cashing companies who called for verification.

"We were fortunate that we didn't have to make good on any of the check because they were all forged," he said.

Wednesday, Clarke was arrested and booked in the Spokane County Jail on unrelated felony charges.

Investigators said the investigation is on-going and additional arrests and search warrants are expected.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • One person dead after hit & run in Spokane Valley

    One person dead after hit & run in Spokane Valley

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:02:36 GMT
    KHQ.COM - One person is dead after a hit and run near I-90 Park Rd. in Spokane Valley. It happened around 1:30 am on Tuesday. At this point police do not have a suspect description but are asking for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.>>
    KHQ.COM - One person is dead after a hit and run near I-90 Park Rd. in Spokane Valley. It happened around 1:30 am on Tuesday. At this point police do not have a suspect description but are asking for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.>>
  • VIRAL VIDEO: Holy Moly! This girl is definitely NOT afraid of spiders!

    VIRAL VIDEO: Holy Moly! This girl is definitely NOT afraid of spiders!

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:00 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:00:12 GMT
    KHQ.COM - You don't even know what this girl is about to do to prove she is definitely NOT afraid of spiders! Is she crazy or just fearless? Would you do this for $500? $1,000? $20,000? >>>WATCH>>>>>
    KHQ.COM - You don't even know what this girl is about to do to prove she is definitely NOT afraid of spiders! Is she crazy or just fearless? Would you do this for $500? $1,000? $20,000? >>>WATCH>>>>>
  • PHOTOS: Share your back-to-school pics!

    PHOTOS: Share your back-to-school pics!

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-09-02 16:18:59 GMT
    KHQ.COM - School is starting! Everyone knows the drill right? Before you can run out the door and jump on the bus, mom always has to snag a picture to remember her little baby growing up through the years! We want to see those photos! Whether they are from this year, last year or 50 years ago, send us the photos of your first day of school!>>
    KHQ.COM - School is starting! Everyone knows the drill right? Before you can run out the door and jump on the bus, mom always has to snag a picture to remember her little baby growing up through the years! We want to see those photos! Whether they are from this year, last year or 50 years ago, send us the photos of your first day of school!>>