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News / Northwest

Man accused of stealing identities, making thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases across Washington

By Garrett Cabeza, The Spokesman-Review
Published: April 21, 2023, 7:24am

SPOKANE — A 58-year-old man is accused of stealing people’s identities to make thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases across Washington.

A Spokane Valley resident reported his identity was stolen and the suspect, later identified as 58-year-old Joseph Simpson, used the resident’s information to make purchases at several jewelry businesses in western Washington, according to a Spokane Valley Police Department news release.

Simpson is alleged to have purchased $11,249.50 worth of jewelry in Tacoma using the victim’s identity. Simpson returned a $6,200 item the following day and purchased a $6,999 and a $399 item. The total estimated amount of the fraudulent purchases was $12,600.

Investigators believe Simpson gained access to the victim’s Washington State Department of Licensing account and ordered a new ID with fraudulent information to purchase the jewelry.

Simpson is also believed to have posed as a different person in Port Angeles, Washington, and obtained a $25,000 loan using the victim’s identity from a credit union. All but $34 was removed from the person’s account, including through two ATM withdrawals at Northern Quest Casino March 29.

Kalispel Tribal Police on April 11 detained Simpson , who identified himself using a driver’s license with the second victim’s name on it. A Spokane Valley Investigative Unit detective recovered $7,146 from Simpson and found fake identification.

Deputies seized a vehicle believed to be fraudulently purchased by Simpson. Detectives later seized at least 1,000 pills believed to contain fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin, multiple documents, several cellphones, a laptop computer, printer, camera, black rifle and three air pistols from the vehicle.

Simpson was booked into the Spokane County Jail April 11 on suspicion of two counts of first-degree identity theft and first-degree theft. His bond was set at $50,000 and he is to be held in jail because of warrants in another jurisdiction. He is scheduled for an arraignment Tuesday.

Several cases are under investigation across the state, so additional charges against Simpson and/or arrests are possible.

Those who recognize Simpson or who can provide information that may help detectives are asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 and reference case No. 2022-10152886. People who believe they were victimized by Simpson and have not reported the information are asked to call Crime Check to file a report.