New charges have been levied against Enumclaw residents Allan and Joann Thomas, who have been suspected of stealing more than $460,000 from local taxpayers.
The Thomases were originally charged with one count of mail fraud in September 2019 — this has now been superseded by one count of conspiracy, four counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and finally, four counts of money laundering, according to new grand jury charges provided by the Department of Justice.
For those unfamiliar with this saga, Allan Thomas was the long-time commissioner of Drainage District 5, a special-purpose taxing district charged with clearing about 18 miles of ditches in Enumclaw to keep the city from flooding. Drainage District 5, or DD5, is funded by local taxpayers.
According to the DOJ, Thomas used his position to send fake invoices to King County for work that was never done on those ditches. Instead, the tax money King County collected and paid Thomas for that work was put to personal use, including on his farm located just east of Enumclaw.
These new charges show that in order to accomplish his scheme, the Thomases stole the identity of their son, Alex Thomas, and another former DD5 commissioner, Kenneth Olson.
The alleged conspiracy began in 2012, when Allan and Joann Thomas created a businesses called A.C. Services in the name of their son Alex, as well as a bank account for the business at White River Credit Union.
“A.T. had very little involvement in the supposed business of A.C. Services or in conducting transactions involving its bank account,” charging documents read; in fact, Alex has already told investigators that while money was flowing into the business’ bank account between 2012 and 2017 for supposed ditch maintenance, he only worked on two ditches in 2012.
This first identity theft charge against the Thomases specifically relates to two incidents in December 2017 where Allan and Joann “did knowingly possess, and use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of… A.T.,” documents continue.
The Thomases also “recruited a neighbor, K.O., to serve as a Commissioner of DD5, and that the Thomases applied K.O.’s name and signature to DD5 documents, including DD5 board minutes and DD5 warrants [invoices] that K.O. had never seen, approved, or signed, all without K.O.’s knowledge,” court documents read.
This second charge of identity theft specifically relates to one incident in October 2015 and another as recently as January 2019.
Aggravated identity theft “has a two year mandatory minimum prison term consecutive to any other time imposed on other counts,” said DOJ spokeswoman Emily Langlie.
The Thomases were arraigned Sept. 17 and have pleaded not guilty; a jury trial is currently scheduled for Nov. 2, 2020, but these superseding charges could affect that.