SEATTLE — King County prosecutors say they have charged a mother and daughter with being the ringleaders of a large organized identity theft ring that was busted last Friday.
Detectives found five fake IDs with Anh Thu Nguyen’s photo when she was arrested. She and her mom are suspected of victimizing hundreds of people. She has been charged with Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft in the First Degree, 5 counts of Identity Theft in the Second Degree and Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.
Prosecutors say despite having two other cases pending, she continued to re-offend after posting a $25,000 bail. Her bail has now been set at $500,000.
Her mom, Kim Thoathi Le, has been charged with Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft in the First Degree, 2 counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree, Identity Theft in the Second Degree, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the First Degree, Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Possessing Stolen Property in the Second Degree. Her bail has been set at $250,000. She has a felony conviction out of Oregon for Identity Theft and several misdemeanor convictions for theft/forgery related offenses.
Two other people have also been charged. Samnang Sam is being held on $500,000 bail and Anh Tuan Tran had bail set at $50,000.
In a news release Monday, Seattle police said law enforcement officers from the SPD, King County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Postal Service served a warrant at a home near the 11700 block of 64th Avenue South in Skyway, where detectives believe a 46-year-old woman and her 26-years daughter have been “running an industrial-scale identification theft operation.”
Inside the two-story home, police said they found a half-dozen fake Washington State IDs — each featuring the 26-year-old suspect’s picture with a different name — lying out in the open, along with printers, blank checks, laptops, tablet computers and large boxes of jewelry.
“The garage of the home was also stacked to the ceiling with suspected stolen tools, luggage, generators and other items, and the search also turned up 14 grams of methamphetamine, 10 pounds of marijuana and a handgun,” the news release said.
Detectives arrested the 26-year-old daughter and her 46-year-old mother and booked them into the King County Jail for identity theft, fraud, and drug possession. Police also arrested and booked a 34-year-old man found at the home, who had a warrant for identity theft.
Investigators believe the suspects have racked up as much as $10,000 in charges a day under the identities of theft victims in Normandy Park, Medina, Everett, Auburn, and other cities in the Seattle area.
Police believe the suspects obtained their victims’ identification information through “mailboxing”—the practice of breaking into unsecured mailboxes for credit cards, state IDs, passports or bank information—as well as through burglaries and car prowls.