LOS ANGELES A former state California Assemblyman on Monday pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges in connection with a scheme to claim almost $200,000 in credit card transactions he conducted were those of someone who stole his identity.
Carl Washington, 47, of Paramount, admitted bilking First City CU, LA Financial CU, and Farmers and Merchants Bank by claiming charges he racked up on their credit cards were made by someone else who stole his identity.
Washington, who now works as an executive in the Los Angeles County Probation Department, is among nearly 50 employees arrested since January 2012 in a yearlong probe of alleged misconduct among department staffers.
Washington began to run up large debts and file bogus police reports with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department in the summer of 2011, 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, failing to disclose all his outstanding debts and the fact 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 again was the victim of identity theft, requesting that information related to the new credit cards be removed from his report, they said.
In his plea agreement, 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 CU 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.