Charge: 11-time felon faked his way out of jail

SEATTLE -- As he headed to prison for stealing identities in 2010, Muhammed Z. Tillisy said he was ready to turn over a new leaf.

Now, Tillisy, an 11-time felon, may get to make a return trip to federal prison following allegations he lied his way out of Snohomish County Jail by posing as a federal prosecutor.

Currently serving time for check fraud in state prison, Tillisy is alleged to have presented himself as an assistant U.S. attorney in phone calls to the U.S. Marshals Service.

According to charging papers, Tillisy tricked the Marshals Service into rescinding a federal hold that was keeping him locked up in county jail. Tillisy then posted bail and enjoyed two presumably sweet days of freedom before federal marshals tracked him down.

Tillisy, a two-time federal offender, is now accused of impersonating a federal officer. Prosecutors appear poised to ask that he serve a federal prison term after he completes the 13.5-year state prison term he received for forging QFC fuel vouchers in Snohomish County.

Convicted in 2010 on federal identity theft charges, Tillisy had been out of prison for two months when he was arrested on May 31, 2012 in the Snohomish County case. In addition to the state charges, Tillisy was accused of violating his federal probation. Even if he posted bail, he would simply be transferred to federal custody.

Those arrests came after Tillisy emphatically told the court he would address his mental health problems and stay out of trouble when he returned from prison.

"I know that mental illness is no excuse, but I can assure the court that I will take steps upon my release from custody to obtain appropriate treatment so that I can better understand and control my anti-social tendencies," Tillisy said in a letter to the court prior to his 2010 sentencing.

Federal prosecutors now contend Tillisy made a series of phone calls from Snohomish County Jail to secure his release.

Using a friend to relay his calls from the jail, Tillisy first claimed to be a Snohomish County deputy prosecutor in a call to the U.S. Attorney's Office so he could learn which assistant U.S. attorney was assigned to his case, a Secret Service agent said in court papers.

Tillisy then impersonated that federal prosecutor in a series of calls to the U.S. Marshals Service and ultimately convinced a deputy marshal to face an order removing the federal hold, the Secret Service agent continued. Free from federal supervision, Tillisy posted bail and was released from county jail on Sept. 12, 2012. Marshals arrested Tillisy on Sept. 14.

All of the calls were recorded. Tillisy is alleged to have used routed the calls through an accomplice's phone so his targets wouldn't hear the recorded warning that begins each jail phone call.

Tillisy has remained in custody since his arrest. He is expected to appear Thursday in U.S. District Court at Seattle for a preliminary hearing.