Carl Washington, a former assemblyman, to plead guilty to fraud
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A top L.A. County Probation Department executive who once was a state assemblyman has agreed to plead guilty to federal bank fraud charges, admitting he bilked financial institutions out of nearly $200,000 by falsely claiming to be an identity theft victim.
Carl Washington, a division chief of intergovernmental relations and legislative affairs, has agreed to plead guilty to three counts of bank fraud for causing losses of $193,661 to financial institutions, including Farmers and Merchants Bank, First City Credit Union and L.A. Financial Credit Union.
Washington, 47, of Paramount, began in the summer of 2011 to run up large debts and file bogus police reports with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, blaming his debts on identity theft.
After filing the false police reports, Washington sent copies to the credit reporting agency Experian and demanded the information related to his bad debt be removed from his credit report, prosecutors said.
Once Experian removed this data from his credit report, Washington submitted applications for new credit cards to banks, failing to disclose all his outstanding debts and the fact that he had negative information reported by other financial institutions removed from his credit report, prosecutors said.
Once he got the new cards, he purchased more goods and services, they said. But after making several payments, Washington contacted Experian and claimed he was again the victim of identity theft, requesting that information related to the new credit cards be removed from his report, they said. In a plea agreement submitted Wednesday, Washington admitted filing five false police reports with the Sheriff’s Department. His scheme was exposed when he attempted to refinance two car loans, and the credit union noticed that prior auto loans were not showing up on his credit reports because he claimed an identity thief had secured those loans.
LA Financial then sought to freeze his credit cards and reported his actions to authorities.
In 1996, Washington was elected to the California Assembly to represent the 52nd District, which includes Compton, serving three terms. While an assemblyman, he was chairman of the Public Safety Committee and wrote the School Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 1999.
The former state lawmaker is slated to enter his guilty plea Monday. Sentencing guidelines call for Washington to serve a year to 18 months in prison, prosecutors said. U.S. District Court Judge James Otero will determine the sentence at a later hearing.
Washington was arrested last year by the FBI’s public corruption squad.
-- Richard Winton