A Lake Stevens, Washington man who used fake credentials in the names of fictional characters or famous fraudsters to commit crimes pleaded guilty this week to seven federal felonies, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. STEVEN W. FISHER, 44, was charged federally in October 2017 with one count of robbery, five counts of impersonation of a federal officer, and one count of attempted robbery. Sentencing in front of U.S. District Judge James L. Robart is scheduled for October 1, 2018.
According to records filed in the case, on January 25, 2017, FISHER gained access to the secure area of a small money transmitting business in Seattle’s Central District by claiming he was a federal agent investigating a suspicious transaction. FISHER flashed a badge, and handed the owner a ‘search warrant’ signed by ‘Frank Abagnale’ — a famous serial fraudster portrayed in the movie “Catch me if you can.” The warrant was purchased via the website Legalfakes.com. FISHER then pulled a weapon on the owner, demanded he open the safe and locked the owner in a back room. FISHER left with a large amount of cash and took computer equipment which contained surveillance photographs from the security system.
FISHER was identified as the suspect following a series of incidents in July and August, 2017 at a different money transmitting business in the Rainer Valley. In that incident, FISHER used the name “Jack Ryan,” a character in Tom Clancy novels. FISHER asked the manager of the money transmitting business to meet him at a nearby parking lot to discuss information that someone was planning on robbing his business. FISHER tried to get the manager to describe the surveillance cameras at the business and suggested he remove cash from the business. The manager instead called 9-1-1 and reported the suspicious conduct to police. One month later, when FISHER showed up at the money transmitting business, again claiming to be an FBI Agent, the manager hit the panic alarm and Seattle Police officers arrived to question FISHER. FISHER was taken into custody and court authorized searches of his car, storage locker, and briefcase turned up fake federal credentials, a realistic appearing airsoft pistol with silencer, and paperwork tying him to the earlier robbery.
In the plea agreement, FISHER admits that in June 2017, he went to two SeaTac businesses posing as a federal agent. One of the small businesses offers money transmitting services. The ‘agent’ claimed he was looking for surveillance footage because of a crime in the area. Because the store owner was suspicious about whether FISHER was actually an FBI agent, he simply said the surveillance cameras were not working. In the early morning hours following that encounter the store was burglarized and $2000 in cash, checks and phones were stolen. Some of the stolen items were later found in FISHER’s possession.
Robbery and attempted robbery are punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Impersonating a federal official is punishable by up to three years in prison.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Seattle Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca Cohen.