January 27, 1996 in City

Former City Worker Faces Felony Fraud Charges

Gita Sitaramiah S Staff writer
 
Tags:forgery

A former Spokane city employee accused of making about $7,300 in purchases while posing as his boss faces felony charges.

Michael C. Brown, 46, was fired from his job as a water department plant operator in November on suspicion he falsified documents and because of poor work performance, according to city documents and court records.

Brown, 111 E. Queen, is charged with three counts of first-degree theft.

He was arrested earlier this month and released Jan. 21 from the Spokane County Jail on $20,000 bond, court records show.

Efforts to reach Brown were unsuccessful Friday. City officials wouldn’t release his name, which was obtained through court documents.

The documents show Brown was overheard saying it would be easy “to destroy a person’s credit.”

The documents accuse Brown of posing as his boss, Mark Cleveland, to:

Open an Airway Heights post office box on Oct. 18.

Obtain Cleveland’s credit report at the Spokane Credit Bureau on Oct. 19.

Make purchases totaling about $7,300 after opening accounts in Cleveland’s name at Sears, Radio Shack and Montgomery Ward.

In the court records, Cleveland says he had problems with Brown over Brown’s performance on the job.

In October, Cleveland got a call from Sears asking him to verify his address, court records show.

Cleveland became suspicious and called the Spokane Credit Bureau and learned that someone had gotten a copy of his credit report.

He looked at a copy of the identification given to obtain the credit report and recognized a photo of Brown.

Soon, he learned of the other purchases and the post office box.

A police detective was assigned the case in October. During a search of Brown’s locker, the detective found small photos of Brown similar to the one placed on a City of Spokane business card belonging to Mark Cleveland. Brown may have presented this business card at the credit bureau along with a beat-up driver’s license, the documents say.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Gita Sitaramiah Staff writer Staff writer Dan Hansen contributed to this report.

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