NEW YORK – An Indian woman, Lata Dass, has earned tens of thousands of dollars by scheming and scamming victims, including forging passports and doctoring birth certificates and was recently charged with first-degree theft and identity theft in Snohomish County in Lynnwood, Washington state.
According to a Herald Net report, Dass’ recent scam started earlier this year at a nail salon in a nearby mall, where she often went for manicures and waxing.
Teresa Cox, the Snohomish County deputy prosecutor, wrote that at the salon, Dass told the staff that she came from a rich family who owned a string of gas stations in California and mentioned that she had a wealthy friend who was moving to California and wanted to sell two houses in Lynnwood and Bothell, without an agent.
She then told the nail salon owner that she could get him a great deal and gave him the addresses of both the houses, hoping he would drive by sometime to take a look and sure enough he did, checked property records and told Dass he was interested.
She told him that her friend didn’t speak English and wanted Dass to help him sell the houses and mentioned that another family members from Canada were also interested in the houses and were willing to pay cash and that if he wanted to buy the houses then he would need to put a $10,000 payment to secure them.
He then gave her the money and she handed him a notarized, handwritten receipt and instructed him to prepare more cash in order to fully purchase the houses and sale contracts. Later, she got another $6,000 from him.
After that, she absconded and gave evasive answers when contacted by the victim, over the phone. After a few weeks, Dass blocked his number on her phone.
She then called him back using a new number and told him that she owed the IRS $400,000 and had to go to California and then she blocked him again and continued to give him excuses for weeks.
Unfortunately, Lynnwood police were unable to find a driver’s license for Dass in the U.S. or Canada but detectives have found out from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that Dass is in the country on a visa and has an Indian passport in her name.
Also, the detective’s search of utility records found that Dass has several addresses from Blaine to Bothell and the most current address was for a rental in Bothell with a P.O. Box in Mill Creek where the clerk recognized Dass from a photo but said she hadn’t been in the store since January, reported Herald Net.
A property manager had contacted Lynnwood police in August after hearing that detectives were looking for Dass and said that she had been renting a property in Bothell since April; when he gave her the keys, she had a young boy with her as well but she hadn’t paid rent since she moved in and owed $16,000.
Detectives later found several passport photographs of different people, birth certificates from various countries and at least two Indian passports which were not Dass’ and inside a child’s ninja turtle backpack, they found financial documents belonging to Dass and other people.
The property owner reported that he’d last exchanged texts with Dass on Sept. 5 and that the phone was registered to someone else.
Detectives then obtained a warrant to track the phone and discovered that data from a cell tower indicated that the phone was at an apartment complex less than two miles from the police station.
They watched the building for a few days and confirmed that Dass was living in an apartment at the same building and arrested her on Sept. 7 as she stepped out of the front door asking for a lawyer.
It was later discovered that Dass’s vehicle was registered to an Everett man. According to court records, Dass supposedly bought the nearly $27,000 Audi using the man’s personal information and also took out insurance policies in his name.
Dass was ordered to be held on a $25,000 bail which she bonded out of right away but was then arrested again by Federal Way police and booked into King County Jail. However, she has since been released.