By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
EVERETT — A Seattle man previously convicted of swindling two elderly victims is now accused of stealing more than $5,000 from a mentally challenged Bothell man, according to court papers.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office arrested the suspect Wednesday for investigation of extortion, theft and multiple counts of obtaining a signature by duress. In court Thursday, a judge found probable cause to hold Jackie T. George, 43, on the theft allegation while prosecutors sort out possible charges.
In court papers, a Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office detective described the victim, 60, as having “a very low IQ” with only an elementary school education. He earns money by maintaining neighbors’ lawns.
“He appears childlike in that he is very easily influenced and attempts to avoid any conflict,” the detective wrote.
He also can be easily intimidated, friends and relatives told investigators.
The man lives alone and can take care of many of his daily needs, but his brother has power of attorney over his financial affairs, court papers said. Even so, the man was able to withdraw cash from his bank account.
Detectives allege George used an alias and convinced the man to make cash withdrawals from his bank account to pay him for vehicle repairs that were never made, court documents said.
George also allegedly presented the Bothell man with a $9 money order and convinced him that it was for $900 and had him make a $900 cash withdrawal from his bank to pay him.
“He obviously is a vulnerable victim,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Walt Sowa told an Everett District Court judge on Thursday.
George was convicted in 2008 of swindling $8,650 from “two elderly victims after promising to fix a leaking roof, failing to do so and disappearing,” according to court papers from King County. The documents didn’t specify how old the victims were.
George also is awaiting trial in King County, where he is charged with five counts of theft.
In that case, he’s accused of tricking a Seattle man, 59, into paying him $12,650 for car repairs that weren’t done.
He allegedly identified himself by the same alias used in the Snohomish County case and told the retired zoo worker that the sensors for the air bags to his car were about to go out and he could fix them for $1,400. George then told the man that the sensors needed to be replaced and it would cost him $2,850, which the man agreed to pay.
Later, a detective asked the car owner to take his vehicle to a mechanic who determined that there were two airbag indicators in the car and neither appeared to have been worked on or replaced.
He also duped the man into paying for other work that wasn’t done, prosecutors alleged in court papers.
At one point, the car owner called the number George had given him. The voice on the other end of the line sounded familiar but the man said he was the defendant’s brother and that his brother was out of town.
In another phone call, the car owner called the same number. A man identified himself as another brother and said the man the caller was seeking had died.
Detectives identified George as a suspect through a license plate number, bank records and surveillance footage of the suspect with the car owner when withdrawals were made.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.