Port Townsend mail, identity thief pleads guilty in federal court

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

TACOMA — A Port Townsend man whom police arrested with more than 1,000 pounds of stolen mail in February has pleaded guilty to bank fraud, possession of stolen mail and aggravated identity theft.

Adam Justin Lysiak, 39, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count each of the three crimes in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

The remaining seven counts are to be dismissed at the sentencing hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. Feb. 28 in Tacoma before Judge Ronald B. Leighton, according to the plea agreement.

Lysiak could face more than four years in prison for the crimes — 24 months for the identity theft and 27 months for the possession of stolen mail and bank fraud charges, prosecutors said.

Lysiak has been held in the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac since June 10, when he was transferred from the Jefferson County jail that had held him since his Feb. 12 arrest in Port Townsend.

He was charged then with 12 counts of second-degree possession of stolen property and one count of possession of stolen mail, pleaded not guilty in Jefferson County Superior Court and was facing an April trial when federal authorities took the case.

The agreement requires Lysiak to make restitution to three financial institutions: $300 to Wells Fargo, $283 to Department Stores National Bank and $427 to American Express.

Restitution in the amount of $1,979 to an individual identified only as J.M. also was specified, while other victims may put forth restitution requests, according to the plea agreement.

Victims of this crime who were previously contacted by the Port Townsend Police Department or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service may contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Victim-Witness Program at 800-797-6722 and inquire about providing an impact statement to be delivered to a judge or read in open court at sentencing.

Lysiak also was required to forfeit several assets, including a computer, a safe and a 2-ton floor jack.

Mail and credit cards, along with computers, printers and other evidence, were collected by officers serving a search warrant on Lysiak’s apartment on Sherman Street and his car, said Luke Bogues, Police Department spokesman.

The mail Lysiak collected had been stored around his apartment in large garbage bags, Bogues said.

After investigators discarded advertisements and other mail not addressed to a specific person or business, about 3,000 pieces of mail were left, taken from more than 1,230 victims across the region. Most of the mail was from residences in Jefferson and Kitsap counties. Three Sequim victims were found.

Lysiak used the personal and financial information he gathered from the stolen mail to shop at six Port Townsend businesses and at multiple stores across Kitsap County, according to Bogues.

“It was the most extensive fraud investigation ever conducted by Port Townsend police,” Bogues said.

At the time of his arrest, Lysiak was wanted by the Department of Corrections, which said he had escaped from community custody in Federal Way.

He had been convicted in King County on charges of identity theft, possession of stolen property and possession of fraudulent bank checks, authorities said.

He was put in community custody last September after being released from prison but absconded from his probation officer late last year and was later found hiding in a Port Hadlock home, authorities said.

The federal complaint, written by Secret Service Special Agent Brian Molnar, says Lysiak began living with a teenager and her mother, with whom he had a son, a few months before his arrest.

According to the teen girl — unidentified because of her age — Lysiak stole mail from a mailbox in her presence, then recruited her mother to routinely steal from mailboxes in Jefferson and Kitsap counties.

Lysiak created fake IDs that were then used at Walmart in Poulsbo to cash checks or purchase goods with stolen bank cards, the complaint said.

Lysiak expanded his operation to Silverdale, where he targeted Macy’s, and stores such as Henery’s Hardware in Port Townsend, police said.

Three laptops were in Lysiak’s possession at the time of his arrest.

A search of the computers found evidence of bank fraud and identity theft, including pictures of driver’s licenses using different names but with Lysiak’s picture.

Police spent several weeks after Lysiak’s arrest sorting the confiscated mail and contacting the victims.

The investigation involved hundreds of hours worked by Police Detective Jason Greenspane, Bogues and U.S. Postal Inspector Matthew Rintoul.

They were assisted by other officers, citizen volunteers and help from other agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service.

________

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsula
dailynews.com.

Last modified: November 23. 2013 6:02PM
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