Prolific identity thief convicted following three-day trial

Date: 
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Office Affiliation: 

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington:

Seattle – A Seattle man who stole tens of thousands of dollars from a woman in her 70’s while she lay dying in the hospital, was convicted today in U.S. District Court in Seattle of ten federal felonies.  DWAYNE BROOKS was convicted of six counts of bank fraud and attempted bank fraud, two counts of use of unauthorized access devices, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.  The jury deliberated about four hours following the three-day trial.  U.S. District Judge James L. Robart scheduled sentencing for May 18, 2020.

According to records in the case and testimony at trial, between November 2016 and April 2018, BROOKS used debit cards, credit cards, checks, and other financial information stolen from mail, cars, and homes to steal money from multiple victims.  One of the victims, a 78-year-old woman ultimately died in the hospital while BROOKS was looting her accounts.  During the scheme, BROOKS repeatedly used her information to open credit accounts, drain bank accounts, and even attempted to obtain her power of attorney.  While the woman was in the hospital, surveillance video shows BROOKS using keys stolen from her ex-husband’s car to burglarize her condominium, taking bags full of valuables.  A second victim, an 84-year-old Seattle woman, is still trying to untangle the fraud he committed against her accounts, including her retirement investment account.  Finally, BROOKS stole and attempted to cash a $34,000 tax refund check.

In all, BROOKS’ fraud exceeds $120,000.

In closing argument, Assistant United States Attorney Seungjae Lee noted, BROOKS’ scheme “was simple, but devastating.  He had no regard for those left behind holding the bag.  An 84-year-old woman is still trying to recover from the fraud on her accounts.  A second victim spent her last months in the hospital while the defendant was draining her accounts.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) with assistance from the Duval Police Department, King County Sheriff’s Office, Renton Police Department, and the Washington State Patrol.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seungjae Lee and Special Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Diggs.  Mr. Diggs is an attorney with the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, specially designated to pursue fraud cases in federal court.