Woman allegedly drained checking account of Washington state couple

Tacoma News TribuneOctober 24, 2011 

Authorities say a 32-year-old woman used a fake identity and phony checks to drain nearly $330,000 from a Gig Harbor couple’s checking account earlier this year.

Sasha Maritza Gray and two conspirators allegedly used much of the money to buy merchandise and gift cards at the Kmart on Sixth Avenue in Tacoma, court documents show. They had help from a Kmart employee Gray befriended and showered with gifts, the records state.

Pierce County prosecutors last week charged Gray with 44 felonies, including leading organized crime and multiple counts of identity theft, forgery, theft and trafficking in stolen property.

She pleaded not guilty in Superior Court on Thursday and was ordered jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Stephanie Hope Smith, age unknown, and Stephanie Wilkes, 30, also are charged in the case but with many fewer crimes. They, too, pleaded not guilty and are jailed.

The Kmart employee has not been charged. He is cooperating with authorities.

Pierce County sheriff’s detectives began investigating the case in July when the couple reported being the victims of check fraud.

Read the complete story at thenewstribune.com

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