Everett police bust massive ID theft ring

EVERETT, Wash. -- Using hotels as hubs for a crime network has a big catch -- the paper trail.

Six defendants ended up in court on Friday after months of work by Everett police and the The United States Secret Service.

Snohomish County Prosecutors say the defendants defrauded at least 100 people through identity and bank account theft. Everett police say it was an intricate group.

"Runners and collectors and then the organizers of the ring," said Sgt. Ryan Dalberg with the Everett Police Department.

Runners would poach information from mailboxes, collectors would use fake IDs and forge checks at local stores and organizers would wrangle it all.

One of the accused, Jennifer Speelmon, allegedly worked out of an Everett hotel. After searching her room, police found stolen jewels and coins, stolen mail, counterfeit checks and credit cards.

When she was arrested back in October, police say she was carrying a notebook with names and addresses -- all under the title "people to rob."

But it all came undone earlier this week at a Safeway in Shoreline, where the county says Latasha Chambers and Richard Walton tried to pass counterfeit checks inside. But Chambers dropped a check in the parking lot while trying to hide it.

They were arrested, and that led police to Michael Suryan, who is court documents is described as one of the ringleaders of the group.

Police went into Suryan's room at the inn and found a trove of forgery equipment -- computers, lamination machines, fake IDs and even the Washington state seal.

He, like many of the others, eventually admitted to the crimes and landed in court.

The hubs of a crime network undone by the paper trail.