OLYMPIA – Figuring out ways to better respond to the challenge of Identity Theft, Fraud and related financial crimes is the goal of a countywide summit set for February 9th. The Thurston County Identity Theft Summit will be held from 8 AM to 2PM at the Labor and Industries Building in Tumwater.
One of the organizers, Thurston County Sheriff's Chief Criminal Deputy Dan Kimball, says financial crimes have become a real challenge for the criminal justice system. "In Thurston County alone we have as many as 50 active cases going at one time. When you add in all the cases that the local cities are also dealing with, you can see that it's a significant problem that is growing all the time." Kimball says Fraud and Identity Theft cases are often much more complex than other types of crime. "One suspect may steal mail from hundreds of victims. Items in that mail, such as credit cards, credit applications, boxes of checks etc, may be used in crimes all across the county in different jurisdictions and even in different counties and states. For the criminal justice system and especially for the victim, tracking all of the illegal activity can be a nightmare."
Thurston County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jon Tunheim says the summit is a chance for people involved in different aspects of the system to get together to discuss the situation. "Although the summit is not open to the general public, we will have representation from a wide range of disciplines. Attendees include victims, law enforcement, prosecutors, business people, financial institution representatives, community leaders and others. The hope is to compare the experiences of everyone regarding fraud related crimes and to find some common ground for improving the response to this problem."
Sponsors of the summit include-
- Twin County Credit Union .
- Washington State Employees Credit Union.
- Bank of America .
- Traditions Café.
- Washington State Attorney General's Office.
- Anchor Bank.
- Thurston County Methamphetamine Coalition.
- Thurston County Public Health and Social Services.
- Scatterbrains Comedy Troupe.
The ideas that come out of the summit will be reviewed by a special panel with the hope of coming up with solid recommendations to go back to everyone for implementation. Those recommendations may be available by the end of the year.