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Washington State News


U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern Dist. of Wash.

Spokane, Washington – Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Ali Abed Yaser, age 52 of Kennewick, Washington, was sentenced after having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, making false statements to the FBI, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, and two counts of mail fraud.  United States District Judge Mary K. Dimke sentenced Yaser to a 42-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 3-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison.  Judge Dimke also ordered Yaser to pay restitution in the amount of $126, 990 and forfeiture of $19,978.  At sentencing, Judge Dimke observed that Yaser engaged in a “concerted and dedicated effort to undermine the credibility of” the FBI and his actions “undermined the reputation of that agency and the community’s ability to have trust and faith in the justice system as a whole.”  

According to court proceedings, in February 2019, the FBI opened an official investigation into allegations that Yaser and others were involved in a scheme to defraud insurance companies and obtain money and property by staging automobile accidents, and filing false and fraudulent claims with insurance companies.  As part of the investigation, the FBI used a confidential human source (CHS) who covertly recorded conversations with individuals suspected of being involved in the staged accident scheme.  The CHS provided information to the FBI regarding violations and suspected violations of the Federal criminal laws.

In May 2020, the FBI executed warrants to search residences in Washington and California for evidence of federal crimes. Shortly afterward, Yaser told the CHS to be careful because Yaser suspected someone was an FBI informant.  Yaser told the CHS that he learned that the individual Yaser suspected was an FBI informant recently visited the CHS.  Yaser admonished the CHS for not calling him when that individual visited the CHS.  Yaser told the CHS he would have come to his residence, closed the garage door, shut off the security system cameras, and killed the individual Yaser suspected was the FBI informant.  Yaser added, “they would not have recognized his face from his foot.”  Yaser encouraged the CHS to call the person Yaser thought was the FBI informant and to convince the person to meet with Yaser at his residence.

A few days later, Yaser met with the CHS and discussed his plan to file a false, fictitious, and fraudulent complaint against the FBI case agent and the suspected FBI informant.  Yaser also sought to persuade others to support his plan to make false allegations against the FBI case agent and the other individual.  Yaser stated, “When we make [the suspected informant] wear the handcuffs, we will be sending him away from the field, keep him on the sideline.”  Yaser also stated, “After I screw [the suspected informant], a week later I would go to [the FBI] again and say to them, Protect me.  Protect my children.  I need protection for myself and my children, and that Al-Mahdi Army militias are threatening my family in Iraq.  I would put [the suspected informant] in such a mess he would never get out of.”

Yaser instructed the CHS to audio record the suspected informant so Yaser could tamper with the recording and play a tampered version for police. Yaser told the CHS, “I want to record his words.  There are words I want to pick out.  So, If I am at a spot, I will play them to the police.  I would say when he came to me here, I became afraid and thought he must have something bad, and I was afraid of him, and I put the recorder for him.”

In late August 2020, Yaser discussed fabricating a story for local local police and the FBI to further his scheme to discredit the case agent and the individual Yaser suspected was an FBI informant.  Yaser’s plan was to make them unavailable as witnesses, to get the FBI agent removed from the case and to impede proceedings against Yaser.  Yaser stated in sum and substance, “We will file a complaint with the police and the police will forward it to [FBI]” and “[t]he police will turn it upside down on them, it won’t take half an hour and it would reach them.”  

In September 2020, when interviewed by FBI, Yaser and codefendant Mohammed Naji Al-Jibory falsely accused the FBI case agent and the individual they suspected of being an FBI informant of soliciting approximately a $20,000 bribe from Yaser to make the case go away.  In doing so, Yaser and Al-Jibory engaged in misleading conduct toward the FBI agents with the intention of hindering, delaying, and preventing communication to these officers and a federal judge of information relating to the commission and possible commission of federal crimes.  Yaser and Al-Jibory also attempted to corruptly obstruct, influence, and impede, and attempt to obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding, that is, a federal grand jury proceeding and the federal criminal case against him.

Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington said, “Staged accidents make our streets dangerous and distract police from responding to legitimate distress calls.  Moreover, efforts to hinder federal criminal proceedings will not be tolerated.  We will continue to work closely with out federal and state law enforcement, and private industry, partners to investigate fraud schemes.  I am grateful to the tremendous investigative agents and Assistant United States Attorney George Jacobs, who spent substantial time and resources to ensure that our community continues to be safe and strong, and that individuals who perpetrate these types of complex schemes are held accountable.”

“When faced with the discovery of his fraud scheme, Mr. Yaser doubled down,” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “Despite his efforts to discredit law enforcement, the full extent of his crimes was revealed and thwarted. I am thankful for the hard work of our investigators and partners to hold Mr. Yaser accountable for his actions.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the National Insurance Crime Bureau.  This case is being prosecuted by George J.C. Jacobs, III, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.  Dominique J. Park, a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, also participated in the investigation and indictment of this case.


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