Ex-Issaquah insurance agent pleads guilty to swindling seniors

November 15, 2011

The former Issaquah insurance agent responsible for stealing more than $1 million from elderly clients to spend on clothing, online psychic advisers and more pleaded guilty Oct. 31.

Jasmine Jamrus-Kassim, 49, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree theft in King County Superior Court. Prosecutors reduced the number of charges from 21 as part of a plea deal.

The victims approved of the plea deal, said Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. In some cases, victims’ family members agreed, because the victim had since died.

Prosecutors said Jamrus-Kassim stole at least $1,052,088 between late 2007 and late 2009. The seniors — ranging in age from 74 to 90 — made out checks to Jamrus-Kassim. The clients thought she intended to reinvest the money for them.

Instead, she funneled the money into a personal account for clothes, jewelry and a trip to Mexico.

Court records also show she made large payments to online psychic advisers, including $20,000 to a psychic website in a single month.

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Former Issaquah HOA president is headed to trial

November 15, 2011

The man accused of bilking more than $10,000 from a local homeowners association is due in court early next year.

Kennedy M. Mulwa, 27, faces a first-degree theft charge, because authorities said he stole money from the homeowners association in Sammamish Crown Condominiums, 4330 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E.

King County prosecutors said Mulwa, serving as the homeowners association president, transferred $11,370 from the homeowners association’s account to his business, Orwell Tours and Travel.

In January 2010, a homeowners association employee discovered a withdrawal from a reserve account. Other board members later confronted Mulwa about the withdrawal, but said he lacked the funds to replace the money in the homeowner association’s account. Instead, he did not return the money, prosecutors said.

Mulwa is due in King County Superior Court for a trial Jan. 4.

Ex-Issaquah insurance agent pleads guilty to bilking seniors

November 1, 2011

NEW — 5 p.m. Nov. 1, 2011

Jasmine Jamrus-Kassim, a former Issaquah insurance agent, pleaded guilty Monday to stealing more than $1 million from elderly clients.

Investigators said she then used the money to pay for online psychics and more.

Jamrus-Kassim pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree theft in King County Superior Court for stealing retirement funds. Investigators said five victims — Bellevue, Renton and Seattle seniors ranging in age from 74 to 90 — made out checks to the agent because they believed she intended to reinvest the money for them.

Instead, investigators said she funneled the money into a personal account for clothes, jewelry and a trip to Mexico.

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King County Council celebrates University of Washington’s 150th anniversary

November 1, 2011

King County Council members and Prosecutor Dan Satterberg join University of Washington President Michael Young to recognize the university's 150th anniversary Oct. 31. Contributed

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 1, 2011

King County leaders, including many University of Washington alumni, celebrated the institution’s 150th anniversary Monday.

UW alumni County Executive Dow Constantine and Prosecutor Dan Satterberg joined County Council members to present a special recognition to UW President Michael Young. The elected leaders touted the UW as a top research institution in the United States and reminisced about the university.

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King County leaders commit $1.4 million to combat gangs

September 13, 2011

Lake Sammamish State Park shootout influences decision

King County leaders bolstered efforts to combat street gangs late last month and directed $1.4 million from a law-enforcement emergency fund to confront a rise in gang violence.

The funds aid prosecutors, sheriff’s deputies and community organizations in anti-gang efforts. The county intends to add three deputy prosecutors and a paralegal focused solely on gang-related cases. Plans call for the King County Sheriff’s Office to receive additional equipment and training.

Dow Constantine

Kathy Lambert

County Council members created the law-enforcement emergency fund last year to address unforeseen criminal justice needs.

Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, joined County Executive Dow Constantine, Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and other leaders Aug. 30 to announce the initiative. The council agreed to fund the initiative a week later.

“We want King County to be a family-friendly and gang-unfriendly area,” she said after the announcement. “We’re taking this very seriously. We’re not putting up with it.”

Lambert said the gang-related shootout at Lake Sammamish State Park in July 2010 also influenced the decision to confront gang violence. The lethal gun battle left a 33-year-old Kent man and a 30-year-old Seattle man dead.

“It used to be that gangs had a neighborhood that they lived in and now they go all over the place,” she said.

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Leaders announce $1.4 million effort to combat gang violence

August 31, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Aug. 31, 2011

King County leaders bolstered efforts to combat street gangs Monday and directed $1.4 million from a law-enforcement emergency fund to confront a rise in gang violence.

Kathy Lambert

Kathy Lambert

The funds aid prosecutors, sheriff’s deputies and community organizations in anti-gang efforts. The county intends to add three deputy prosecutors and a paralegal focused solely on gang-related cases. Plans call for the King County Sheriff’s Office to receive additional equipment and training.

County Council members created the law-enforcement emergency fund last year to address unforeseen criminal justice needs.

Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, joined County Executive Dow Constantine, Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and other leaders Monday to announce the initiative.

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Suspected drug dealer pleads not guilty in overdose death case

August 30, 2011

The man suspected of selling a fatal dose of heroin to a 19-year-old Issaquah High School graduate pleaded not guilty to a drug homicide charge Aug. 18.

Prosecutors said Adam F. Pepka, 20, sold the heroin Zachary Lyter injected May 3. Investigators said Lyter later died from a heroin overdose. Lyter’s father discovered the former Issaquah High football player dead at the Bellevue home they shared the next day.

Pepka’s case-setting hearing is scheduled for Sept. 1.

The suspected dealer faces a charge for controlled substances homicide, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. Under state law, a controlled substances homicide is treated similar to manslaughter.

In order to convict Pepka, prosecutors must prove he sold the fatal dose of heroin to Lyter. Investigators said Pepka continued to sell heroin after learning about Lyter’s death from a 17-year-old girl.

Suspected heroin dealer faces homicide charge

August 16, 2011

Issaquah graduate died from drug overdose

King County prosecutors have filed a seldom-used drug homicide charge against a Seattle man accused of selling a fatal dose of heroin to a former Issaquah High School student.

Zachary Lyter

Prosecutors said Adam F. Pepka, 20, sold the heroin Zachary Lyter injected May 3. Investigators said Lyter later died from a heroin overdose. Lyter’s father discovered the former Issaquah High football player dead at the Bellevue home they shared the next day.

Investigators later determined his blood contained overdose levels of opiates. Police said Lyter admitted his drug problem to family members not long before he died. Officers discovered syringes and drug paraphernalia in his room during the investigation.

Pepka faces a charge for controlled substances homicide, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. Under state law, a controlled substances homicide is treated similar to manslaughter.

In order to convict Pepka, prosecutors must prove he sold the fatal dose of heroin to Lyter. Investigators said Pepka continued to sell heroin after learning about Lyter’s death from a 17-year-old girl.

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Suspected dealer faces homicide charge after overdose claims Issaquah graduate

August 11, 2011

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Aug. 11, 2011

King County prosecutors last week filed a seldom-used drug homicide charge against a Seattle man accused of selling a fatal dose of heroin to a former Issaquah High School student.

Prosecutors said Adam F. Pepka, 20, sold the heroin Zachary Lyter injected May 3. Investigators said Lyter later died from a heroin overdose. Lyter’s father discovered the former Issaquah High football player dead at the Bellevue home they shared the next day.

Investigators later determined his blood contained overdose levels of opiates. Police said Lyter admitted his drug problem to family members not long before he died. Officers discovered syringes and drug paraphernalia in his room during the investigation.

Pepka faces a charge for controlled substances homicide, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. Under state law, a controlled substances homicide is treated similar to manslaughter.

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State honors bank employees for protecting Issaquah senior from fraud

August 2, 2011

State Attorney General Rob McKenna honored Bellevue bank employees July 28 for safeguarding an elderly Issaquah man suffering from dementia.

In 2008, a massage therapist at a local assisted-living facility and another woman tried to bilk the then-78-year-old man out of his savings. Authorities said the women took the man from the Issaquah facility to a courthouse wedding. Then, the massage therapist bride and the other woman took him to a Bank of America branch in Bellevue to cash out his bank account.

Employees called the police, and officers arrested the women.

For the effort, the employees received AGO Community Heroes plaques from McKenna. The attorney general also announced training materials to encourage more tellers to come to the aid of vulnerable customers.

“These banking professionals understand that exemplary customer service can be as simple as speaking up for a client who can no longer speak for himself,” he said in a statement. “The training materials we’ve produced encourage employees at banks and credit unions to be on the lookout, and speak up for vulnerable customers, just like Elizabeth Reamy, Laura Olson and Darshana Maru did.”

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