Northwest NEWS

July 13, 1998

Local News

Woodinville man arrested for fraud

   by Woodinville Weekly staff

   WOODINVILLE--A 48-year-old Woodinville man was arrested last Thursday morning for bilking at least $95,000 out of several victims in what police describe as a "ponzi" scheme.
   Detective Jim Noss of the King County Sheriff's Fraud-Computer Forensic Unit said the suspect ran Civilizations Development Corporation initially out of his Westview Gardens apartment and most recently from the Woodinville Mall.
   "The long and the short of it is he was hired by multiple individuals over the last year to build houses or invest in certain properties, then that money was used to float other deals," Noss said.
   He said one victim gave the suspect funds for constructing a house but work was never done, and the money wasn't returned.
   The arrest, made near the suspect's home without incident, follows a three-month investigation.
   Noss said at least five victims have been found so far. Detectives now will go through the suspect's bank records to find out where the money went.
   Noss said the suspect, a white male who was born in Canada, would likely be charged with multiple counts of first-degree theft. He didn't anticipate any more arrests.
   Anyone with information can call the Sheriff's fraud unit at (206) 296-4280.