On March 28, 2013, The Honorable Spokane County Superior Court Judge Cozza sentenced 24-year-old Michael A. Clarke Jr. to 54 months state custody, and $60,847 in restitution, following his plea of guilty to multiple identity theft and drug charges. Clarke's plea and sentencing was the result of a lengthy investigation conducted by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office's Investigative Task Force & Investigative Support Unit, and Spokane Police Department Fraud Unit, with outstanding collaboration between the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office and United States Attorney's Office.
The investigation showed that from November, 2011, to September, 2012, Clark and others conspired to engage in a scheme to defraud credit companies, banks, and, local Spokane area merchants by using stolen victim profile information that included names, dates-of-birth and Social Security Numbers. This information was used to fraudulently apply for, and use, unauthorized lines of credit.
Clarke and others located and developed over seventy victims’ profile information from various internet websites, then fraudulently opened credit accounts via the internet at financial institutions such as Credit One, Capital One, USAA, G.E. Moneybank, and Bill Me Later. Upon successfully opening the fraudulent accounts, Clarke directed the credit cards to be mailed to various addresses within Spokane County. Clarke solicited persons living at these addresses to receive these cards and related mail in furtherance of the conspiracy.
Clarke, and others, used these fraudulent credit accounts to make numerous purchases at local area merchants in Spokane County, such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Best Buy, Fred Meyer, Nordstrom's, and others, causing $60,847.03 in losses. The investigation remains ongoing, and arrests of additional co-conspirators are expected. The Spokane County Sheriff's Office Investigative Task Force is comprised of Detectives and Special Agents of the Spokane County Sheriff's Office, Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Secret Service.