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Police investigating three suspected money-laundering, forgery schemes

UPDATED: Tue., Nov. 24, 2020

Spokane police are investigating three possible cases of money laundering, according to court documents.

One case involves a Subway store losing about $10,000 through a series of suspected fraudulent checks, according to court documents.

In a second case, a man who called himself Cory Daniels hired a Spokane Valley attorney to collect a debt from a person called Norman Warren. Warren supposedly owed Daniels a half-million dollars from a business investment deal involving the Sky Ribbon Cafe in Spokane, according to court documents.

Daniels said he lived in Canada and the attorney interacted with him over phone and email. Daniels gave the lawyer “convincing” documents to show Warren did owe Daniels money, court documents say. The lawyer contacted Warren and received a check, reportedly written by Sky Ribbon Cafe, for $69,500. The attorney then deposited the check into a trust account and, per Daniels’ instructions, wired almost $64,000 to a Wells Fargo account, according to court documents.

Around Oct. 30, the attorney received a phone call from someone who identified himself as John Stevens. Stevens told the lawyer he was the victim of fraudulent activity and hung up, according to court documents.

The owner of the Sky Ribbon Cafe said they did not know Warren, had not written a check to Daniels and did not bank at the bank noted on the check. According to investigators, Warren and Daniels appeared to be fictitious personas, the check was fictitious and the attorney was “swindled out of $63,975.”

In a third case, a Spokane construction business owner mailed a check for $13,300 to a partner vendor, a cabinet company, which later informed him it did not receive the check. He wrote the cabinet company another check and informed his accountant, court documents say.

The business owner then learned his first check had been deposited at a Chase bank to Scott Gustafson, according to court documents.

Gustafson has an “extensive” criminal history involving property crimes, according to court records. In 2020 alone, Gustafson has been charged in six cases, mostly related to suspected drug dealing in Spokane County Superior Court.

Police are investigating all three cases for suspected money laundering, first-degree theft and forgery.

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