Prolific and ‘relentless’ identity thief sentenced to 5+ years in prison | USAO-WDWA

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 sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 65 months in prison for ten federal felonies, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman.  Dwayne Brooks, 38, was convicted following a four-day trial in February 2020 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.  At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge James L. Robart noted Brooks victimized the elderly.  “This was a population that was extremely vulnerable … He was relentless to go out and steal from these people,” the judge said.

“This defendant is a financial predator who ruthlessly exploited anyone he could, including the elderly, infirm, or even medically incapacitated,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gorman.  “He was relentless in his efforts to open credit accounts, cash stolen checks, and steal from bank and retirement accounts.  His victims are still sorting out the damage he did to their financial lives.”

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.  Judge Robart ordered restitution of $128,802.

Brooks began his ID theft scheme just months after being released from prison.  He was sentenced to 55 months in prison in 2010 for armed robbery.  Judge Robart noted that the 65-month sentence he handed down is on top of a 15-month sentence Brooks already served for related crimes in state prison.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) with assistance from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the Duvall Police Department, King County Sheriff’s Office, Renton Police Department, and the Washington State Patrol.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Diggs. 

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