Serial name changer sentenced in check scam

Jan. 15, 2010 at 6:07 PM
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TACOMA, Wash., Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A federal judge Friday handed a 27-month prison term to a Tacoma, Wash., man who legally changed his name a dozen times as part of a bank fraud scheme.

Leon Anderson, 33, took part in a scam in which he wrote himself rubber checks from bank accounts he had opened under previous names and then deposited in new accounts bearing his new identity.

"This is a very serious offense," U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton said during the sentencing hearing in Tacoma. "You were persistent in it for a long time."

The U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle said in a written statement that Anderson defrauded various banks and merchants out of about $100,000 over the course of the scam, which included 12 name changes between 2000 and 2008.

Anderson would petition a court to change his name, which would enable him to legally obtain a new ID card and Social Security number and open a bank account. He would then deposit checks written on his previous accounts in order to pad his balance.

Before the checks cleared, Anderson made cash withdrawals and wrote other checks that quickly bounced.

Anderson and a co-conspirator were arrested in a parking lot after they were spotted by employees of a nearby gas station where they had bounced a number of checks.

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