A Lake Stevens man is accused of impersonating an FBI agent to steal nearly $130,000 from a Seattle money-wiring service, federal prosecutors said in a complaint filed Wednesday.
A Lake Stevens man claimed to be an FBI agent and used a fake search warrant bearing the name of a Hollywood con artist to steal nearly $130,000 from a Seattle money-wiring service in January, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in federal court.
Steven Fisher also identified himself as FBI agent “Jack Ryan,” a character in Tom Clancy novels, at another wiring service, the complaint says. Fisher, 43, was charged with robbery, attempted robbery and five counts of false impersonation of a federal officer.
Fisher’s spree of impersonations allegedly began on a January night this year, when he visited Red Sea Finance, a money-wiring service in Seattle’s Central District.
Fisher allegedly told the owner of the business he was the “FBI,” flashed a silver badge and said the owner had conducted a “bad transaction,” according to the criminal complaint.
Most Read Local Stories
- This tiny house village allows drugs. Should it have been put in a high drug-traffic area?
- Meteorologists: High temps in Seattle area will near — or break — all-time records this week
- Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee to Bill Maher: ‘We’ve got the best weed’
- As Seattle struggles with bike lanes, Vancouver, B.C., has won the battle
- After troubling allegations, Oregon officials found 'insufficient evidence' in Hart family case in 2013
Then, Fisher showed the owner a search warrant with the name “Frank Abagnale” on it. Abagnale is the name of an impostor portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film “Catch Me If You Can.”
When the owner began to question him further, Fisher allegedly pulled out a gun and aimed it at the owner, then told the owner to open the wire service’s safe, which was in a cage.
Fisher allegedly scooped up nearly $130,000 into a backpack and then took the business’ computer system, which contained a hard drive with security footage. Then, he padlocked the owner inside the cage, the complaint says.
A friend, who later let the owner out, saw Fisher leaving the business, according to the complaint. Investigators later matched the fake search warrant to a website that sells frivolous documents.
“The owner of LegalFakes.com has confirmed that the search warrant used in the robbery of Red Sea Financial was obtained from LegalFakes.com,” according to the complaint.
Six months later in July, Fisher allegedly called the manager of Rainier Valley money-wiring service Dahabshil, Inc., introduced himself as “Jack Ryan” and set up a meeting. In person, Fisher told the manager someone planned to burglarize the business, and FBI agents were planning to watch it that evening, the complaint says. He asked the manager to remove all of the company’s cash, just in case.
Fisher allegedly called later to follow up about removing the cash and asked questions about the company’s security system. The manager hung up and called 911, but officers could not find a suspect.
About a month later, Fisher allegedly returned to Dahabshil, Inc. carrying a briefcase, identified himself as an FBI agent and inquired about surveillance files, according to the complaint. The manager recognized Fisher and activated a robbery panic alarm.
When Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers arrived, Fisher denied identifying himself as a special agent or visiting the business before, the complaint says. He did not give officers permission to open a briefcase, but did admit there was an airsoft pistol, handcuffs and fake law-enforcement documents inside, the complaint says.
Two days later, SPD detectives got a search warrant for Fisher’s vehicle and briefcase. In the briefcase, they allegedly found a wallet with fake FBI credentials for “Jack Ryan,” an FBI badge, handcuffs, bolt cutters, a garrote, “a realistic looking gun with a silencer,” bear spray and other items.
Among the items police reported finding in his vehicle were “an airsoft sniper rifle with scope,” a “sniper suit,” and a pistol.
According to the complaint, detectives also found documents from another money-wiring service, which reported that it had been burglarized in June, the day after a man of Fisher’s description claiming he was with the FBI came to talk about the security system at the business.
King County prosecutors filed charges against Fisher this summer. That case was dismissed after federal prosecutors filed charges.
Information in this article, originally published Oct. 28, 2017, was corrected Oct. 28, 2017. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated who played the role of Frank Abagnale in “Catch Me If You Can.” Leonardo DiCaprio played the part.