Flimflam man posing as FBI agent gets 5 year prison sentence

The Lake Stevens man used fake credentials of famous fictional and real people to commit his crimes.

SEATTLE — A Lake Stevens con man was sentenced to five years in prison Monday after impersonating an FBI agent and stealing more than $125,000 from Seattle-area businesses.

Steven Fisher, 44, used fake credentials of famous fictional and real people to commit his crimes.

In one case he used a phony search warrant that came from a website and was signed by “Frank Abagnale,” a prolific real-life impostor who took on many identities and who Leonardo DiCaprio portrayed in the movie “Catch Me If You Can.”

In another hoax, he used the name Jack Ryan, who is a Tom Clancy character.

Real FBI agents as well as Seattle police eventually caught up with him. Fisher pleaded guilty in July to one count of robbery, five counts of impersonation of a federal officer, and one count of attempted robbery.

U.S. District Judge James L. Robart on Monday made note of the fact that the defendant preyed on immigrants.

“This was a long-term calculated crime … attacking a marginalized community,” the judge said. “You picked the most vulnerable group of people I know of. … You did a despicable thing to people who deserved better.”

Federal court papers detailed the allegations.

In one case, a Seattle owner of a money-wiring business reported being robbed. He told investigators he heard a knock on the front door of his business one evening. A man wearing a black three-piece suit with a red dress shirt identified himself as an FBI agent. He flashed a silver badge and said he had a search warrant. He accused the owner of conducting a bad transaction, according to court papers.

The owner showed the man his transactions. Fisher told him he needed to go through boxes in a storage room.

The owner questioned the stranger and that’s when Fisher pulled a fake firearm. He ordered the owner to open a safe and remove cash. He grabbed a computer tower and locked the owner in a back room before fleeing.

A day later, the manager of a Seattle-area wiring service reported a suspicious encounter with a man who claimed to be an FBI agent. The man identified himself as Jack Ryan.

He warned the man that the FBI had information about a robber who planned to hit the business. He urged the man to remove all the cash from the store in case someone broke in. The manager said he’d have to check in with his supervisor. The suspect left but called later, asking about the cash and what kind of surveillance cameras were in use.

The man called 911. He called police a month later when the same man showed up again. Fisher removed fake FBI credentials from a briefcase. He said the robbery suspect had been arrested and he was there to collect surveillance files from the store.

Seattle police converged on the business, finding Fisher there. He told officers he was wiring money and denied posing as an FBI agent. He reported that his car was parked out back. Officers found it five blocks away.

It was later searched and police found an airsoft rifle, duct tape and leg manacles. They also discovered a sniper suit, a Seattle City Light helmet, vest, goggles and marking paint. Stowed in the vehicle was a laptop, a two-way radio, body armor and a handgun with ammo.

Police searched his briefcase. Inside, they found a bifold wallet with fraudulent FBI credentials for “Jack Ryan.” The briefcase also held several pairs of handcuffs, bear spray, bolt cutters, a garrote, rope, black gloves and a realistic-looking gun with a silencer.

Seattle police later searched an Everett storage unit rented by Fisher. Inside was paperwork taken from the robbery, according to court documents.

Police also heard from another business that had allegedly been targeted by Fisher in June. Once again the suspect allegedly claimed to be an FBI agent and wanted to talk about security cameras at the business.

The owner was suspicious and told Fisher he was too busy to talk.

The business was broken into the next morning. About $2,000, three phones and documents containing sensitive information were taken.

“Robbery is a frightening crime, especially when it appears to be at the hands of someone in law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “This defendant’s actions were no joke — he did real harm to real people who were just trying to run their small businesses and thought they were responding to requests from a federal law enforcement officer. The victims will likely never look at a law enforcement officer the same way again.”

The judge ordered Fisher to pay $125,000 in restitution.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

King County map logo
Tribal members dance to start an assemble on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day Friday evening at Tulalip Gathering Hall in Tulalip, Washington on September 30, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Still here’: Tulalip boarding school descendants celebrate resilience

On Orange Shirt Day, a national day of remembrance, the Tulalip Tribes honored those who suffered due to violent cultural suppression.

Councilmember Megan Dunn, left, stands next to County Executive Dave Somers as he presents his 2023 budget proposal to her, Councilmember Nate Nehring and Councilmember Sam Low. (Snohomish County)
As County Council begins budget talks, here’s how you can weigh in.

Department heads will make their pitches in the next few days. Residents will get a say at a forum and two hearings this month

Representative Rick Larsen speaks at the March For Our Lives rally on Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Larsen to hold community meeting in Everett on Monday

The veteran Democratic lawmaker will address recent legislation passed by Congress and other topics.

Everett
Everett gets state Auditor’s Office stewardship award

State Auditor Pat McCarthy presented the award during the most recent Everett City Council meeting.

(Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest - US Forest Service)
U.S. 2 reopens east of Index as Bolt Creek wildfire moves north

The highway was blocked off earlier this week as the fire spread.

FILE - Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks during a news conference the vote to codify Roe v. Wade, in this May 5, 2022 file photo on Capitol Hill in Washington. Murray is one of the U.S. Senate's most powerful members and seeking a sixth term. She is being challenged by Tiffany Smiley, a Republican from Pasco, Wash. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
Providence continues to face questions about hospital debt collection

The hospital group has pushed back against the notion that Providence “intentionally takes advantage of those who are vulnerable.”

Vehicles exiting I-5 southbound begin to turn left into the eastbound lanes of 164th Street Southwest on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Traffic backups on 164th Street near I-5 could see relief soon

The county and state are implementing a new traffic signal system that synchronizes the corridor and adjusts to demand.

Anthony Christie with his son (Family photo)
‘Senseless’: Mom sues state DOC after son’s suicide at Monroe prison

The lawsuit alleges systemic failures at the Monroe Correctional Complex led to Anthony Christie’s death in 2019.

Most Read