Washington State Auditor indicted amid allegations of falsifying tax returns, possessing stolen property

A U.S. Grand Jury in Seattle has returned a ten count indictment against TROY X. KELLEY, 50, of Tacoma for his scheme to keep stolen money and hide it from both the IRS and those due a refund related to their purchase of a home or refinance of a home mortgage, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  KELLEY currently serves as the elected Washington State Auditor.  The majority of the criminal conduct detailed in the indictment spans years prior to KELLEY’s election to statewide office.  However, some of the criminal conduct detailed in the indictment occurred following his election.  KELLEY is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Tacoma at 2:30 today.

 

“Mr. Kelley spun a web of lies in an effort to avoid paying his taxes and keep more than a million dollars that he knew did not belong to him, but instead should have been returned to thousands of homeowners across this state,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  “I commend the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation for their diligent work to piece together the voluminous records that form the basis for the charges in this case.”

 

According to the indictment, between 2003 and 2008, KELLEY operated a business that was paid by real estate title companies to track documents related to real estate sales and refinancings.  KELLEY had agreements with those companies for the fees he could charge in connection with the document-tracking work.  While the title companies withheld $100-$150 on each loan to pay the fee, the bulk of the money was to be returned to the borrower with KELLEY’s company being paid $15- $20 per transaction.  However, the indictment alleges, in most cases, KELLEY kept the entire amount withheld on each loan resulting in more than $2 million in stolen money.  This conduct is the basis for count one of the indictment:  Possession and concealment of stolen property.  When the amount withheld by title companies became the subject of civil litigation, the indictment alleges KELLEY obstructed the litigation, repeatedly lying in a declaration and in depositions while under oath.  For this conduct KELLEY is charged with four counts of false declarations and one count of attempted obstruction of a civil lawsuit.  Further, the indictment alleges KELLEY failed to pay federal taxes and obstructed the IRS in its efforts to collect taxes from him.  He is charged with corrupt interference with Internal Revenue laws and two counts of filing false income tax returns.  Finally, KELLEY is charged with making false statements to Internal Revenue Service agents who questioned him about his scheme in April 2013.

 

“Today’s action demonstrates our collective efforts to enforce the law,” stated Special Agent in Charge Teri Alexander of IRS Criminal Investigation.  “IRS CI is committed to unraveling the complex financial transactions individuals might use to attempt to conceal their taxable income.  To build faith in our tax system, honest taxpayers must be confident that everyone is paying their fair share.”

“The public deserves integrity and honesty from elected officials,” said Special Agent in Charge Frank Montoya, Jr., of the FBI’s Seattle Division.  “For that reason, identifying and investigating public corruption is a top priority for the FBI.”

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations.  A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

 

Possession and concealment of stolen property is punishable by up to ten years in prison.  Attempted obstruction of civil litigation is punishable by up to twenty years in prison.  False declarations and false statements are punishable by up to five years in prison.  The remaining charges are punishable by up to three years in prison.

 

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and the FBI.

 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Arlen Storm, Kathryn Frierson and Andrew Friedman.

Sidewalk project temporarily reduces parking at Elma Safety Rest Area

A sidewalk repair project at the Elma Safety Rest Area on State Route 8 will lead to temporary parking changes. From Monday, April 20 through Thursday, April 23, all vehicles will use the semi-truck parking area.

During the maintenance project, the men’s restroom will be closed and portable toilets will be available. The women’s restroom will remain open. The work is occurring in advance of the busy summer travel season.

The Washington State Department of Transportation operates numerous Safety Rest Areas across the state to give travelers a place to rest before continuing on their journey.

Drivers can learn of traffic impacts by visiting WSDOT’s travel alerts and construction update webpages.

Hyperlinks within the news release:

  • WSDOT Safety Rest Areas

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/safety/restareas

  • Washington State Travel Alerts

http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts/

Senate Passes bill to upgrade crude oil regulations in Grays Harbor

The Senate has passed a bill to set up new safety regulations for oil trains that travel through Washington. The bill would tax oil moved by rail or tanker at 5 cents a barrel to fund spill cleanup efforts, and requires upgrades like tug escorts and other water transport safety measures for oil shipped via Grays Harbor. An amendment to extend those requirements to Puget Sound oil shipments failed.

Satsop Business Park looking for “big business” to lease 300,000 square foot Turbine Building

If ‘big’ is your business, then the Satsop Business Park’s Turbine Building is the place for you.   The Turbine Building is now available for lease after being occupied the last five years by a tank manufacturing company.

How big is “big”?  The 300,000 square foot facility is well suited for heavy industrial/manufacturing including tank construction, aerospace and large component construction for industrial and energy projects.  The building features three stories with 11 cranes.  The top floor has two 250-ton cranes and the bottom floor has nine cranes ranging from five to ten tons.

Only 30 minutes from Olympia and the I-5 corridor, the Turbine Building at the Satsop Business Park is ready to serve your business’s needs with redundant electrical power, four separate fiber connections coming from different locations and various providers, water, and a newly constructed, state-of-the-art sewer system.

“The Turbine Building is a prime example of the unique infrastructure the Satsop Business Park has to offer to grow your business”, said Alissa Shay, Business Development Manager at Satsop Business Park.  “We are confident there are businesses out there that could benefit from what the Turbine Building has to offer.”

atson Business Park - Turbine Building

The structure is distinctive in that it was originally designed to house steam turbine generators for the twin nuclear plants that were never finished.  With ten acres of laydown area, there is plenty of room for storage and parking.  Additionally, there are 14,300 square feet of flexible office space including cubicles, a kitchen and conference room.

For more information on what the turbine building has to offer, visit http://www.satsop.com/turbine-building.html.

Business Park, a facility of the Port of Grays Harbor, is less than 2 hours southwest of Seattle and 2 hours north of Portland.  Located in scenic Grays Harbor County in Elma, Washington, the 1,800 acre mixed-use business and industrial park is approximately 30 minutes from Olympia and the I-5 Corridor. A part of the Grays Harbor Innovation Partnership Zone, it is home to more than 30 businesses, offers 600 acres of developed, pad-ready land and buildings supported by super-sized infrastructure, surrounded by 1,200 acres of sustainable managed forestland.

Wildfire season in Washington State begins today

Wildfire season officially begins April 15, as specified by state law, and already the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has had more than 60 forest fires reported this year on lands protected by the agency.

“This year, we have ominous predictions for a hot, dry summer,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “While we work hard to prepare for what could be a challenging season, there are some things property owners can and should do to prepare.”

Property owners can reduce fire risk to their homes and lands by keeping dead vegetation off roofs and away from buildings. The Firewise program explains how to use these techniques and offers incentives to communities who follow Firewise principles.

Prediction for this summer’s weather is available from the National Weather Service. The risk of wildfires can change rapidly during the spring when warmer, dryer weather increases. Among other things, that means people working in the woods or clearing land need to have fire prevention equipment on hand.

Already, above average temperatures and low snowpack have created dry grassland and forests. On March 13, Governor Inslee declared a drought in three Washington regions – the Olympic Peninsula, east slopes of the Central Cascades and Walla Walla.

Last year, more than 315,000 acres of DNR-protected lands were consumed by about 900 wildfires, in the state’s worst ever fire season.  Even though Washington experienced more lightning strikes than normal, 75 percent of the fires were human-caused.

Starting April 22, DNR will offer a series of wildfire preparedness meetings across eastern Washington aimed at helping residents in fire-prone areas of the state prepare for wildfire season.

The agency is also current requesting additional resources from the legislature to increase wildland firefighters and equipment, and to improve the health and fire resistance of Washington forests.

Washington’s summer fire rules

Washington’s “summer fire rules” are in effect April 15 through October 15. These rules apply to the 13 million acres of private and state forestlands protected from wildfire by DNR.

These regulations affect loggers, firewood cutters, land clearers, road builders, heavy equipment operators, off-road motorcyclists, and others. During fire season, people using motorized equipment in the woods must have approved spark arresters and follow fire safety precautions. In addition, those working in the woods must have fire prevention and extinguishing equipment in good working order at the job site and workers trained in proper use.

The rules are intended to prevent forest fires and to extinguish small fires before they spread. Those same rules restrict cigarette smoking in forested areas on roads, gravels pits, or other clearings. They also prohibit lighting fireworks on forestland.

Stay connected during wildfire season
Daily fire risk ratings available by phone and Internet

Industrial Fire Precaution Levels (IFPL) may change daily and classify varying levels of potential fire hazard in different parts of the state. People who work in the woods must observe the IFPL. More information is available from the following sources:

precaution levels, a map of current shutdown zones, and a copy of DNR’s Industrial Fire Precaution Level Bulletin.

  • DNR’s toll-free business line at 1-800-527-3305 plays a message identifying daily

industrial fire precaution levels, which are listed by geographical region. The hearing

impaired can phone Telephone Device for the Deaf at 1-800-833-6388.

  • Email DNR at RPD@dnr.wa.gov. Ask questions or request a copy of DNR’s Industrial

Fire Precaution Level Bulletin or additional information on safe outdoor burning of forest debris and safe recreational campfire tips.

DNR’s wildfire mission

Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands. DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department, with over 1,100 employees trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes over 700 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 400 seasonal employees hired for firefighting duties. Additionally, Department of Corrections’ adult offenders and Department of Social and Health Services-Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration juvenile offenders support firefighting efforts through DNR’s Correctional Camps Program. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.

 

Owner given until June 1 to clean up “River Camp” in Aberdeen, campers asked to leave

Time is up for campers living on private property along the Chehalis River in Aberdeen. They are being asked to move out as the property owner works to clean up the site. Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson spoke yesterday with Code Compliance Officer Bill Sidor and owner Michael Lang, they decided that due to the rougher weather and softer ground they would give Lang until the 1st of June before enforcing a recent order to address unsafe conditions on the site. Simpson said the campers need to move along as soon as possible, as the property owner is tasked with the cleanup and has told city officials they do not want campers on the property.

The Code Compliance department last month served notices to vacate to the campers, and contacted property owners about the amount of trash that was piling up on vacant lots along the river.

Mayor Simpson, along with Sidor, and City Attorney Eric Nelson met with campers and advocates on Monday at the site of “River Camp.” Nelson said that even with the property owners approval – which they do not have, the city ordinance would have to change in order to allow camping on the property. “The last time we were down here was seven years ago. So tolerance is something that we have exercised. But we can’t legally permit, we can’t authorize, we can’t allow it because our laws don’t allow us to do that.”

Advocates have been trying to find some common ground – or even just some ground where the campers can live, but without a change to city code their hands are tied.

Natasha - River Camp residentListen to our entire interview with River Camp resident Natasha here.

 

Cosmopolis man tazed after he chops down neighbor’s tree, refuses interview

A Cosmopolis man was arrested over the weekend after allegedly cutting down his neighbor’s tree, then cutting it up on his property. Cosmopolis Police Chief Casey Stratton tells us a woman called from the 500 block of I street around 4 P.M. Saturday afternoon to report that there were two men in her yard cutting trees down. Officer Matt Nelson arrived and found a tree fallen over the creek that separates the woman’s property from the suspect’s. The woman showed Nelson a picture of two men cutting down a twenty foot tree in her yard. Nelson walked to the other property and found two men still cutting the tree into smaller pieces.
Stratton said Nelson began to interview 28 year old Jacob Ackley about the tree, but Ackley would not cooperate or answer questions. Nelson warned the man eight times to cooperate before he started to place Ackley under arrest for obstruction, Ackley resisted. That was when Officer Nelson used his conducted electrical weapon (taser) on Ackley (twice). Ackley was placed under arrest after that, booked on charges of Obstructing an Investigation and Resisting Arrest. Charges were also forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for trespassing and theft of the wood.

Stratton said alcohol may have been involved.

Truck drifts off roadway, throws debris into oncoming U.S. 101 traffic North of Shelton

The South bound lane of U.S. Route 101 North of Shelton was blocked for about 8 hours this afternoon as the Washington State Patrol investigated, and cleaned up, a 3 vehicle accident. No injuries were reported. Just before 1 Tuesday afternoon a 1998 Kenworth Tractor with dump bed trailer, driven by a 62 year old Vancouver man, was Southbound on 101 when it drifted onto the soft shoulder, rolled onto its side, and spilled debris into the road. The wreck also threw debris into the path of an oncoming car, a 2012 Jeep Liberty driven by an 80 year old Olympia man, and at a parked 2010 Dodge Pickup nearby. The State Patrol trooper listed the dump truck as totaled, the Jeep and pickup both sustained some damage.

 

Daytime closures over US 101 Chehalis River Bridge in Aberdeen modified

Drivers will be pleased to hear that previously announced short-duration daytime closures scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, April 15-16 on US 101 across the Chehalis River Bridge have been modified. No maintenance closures will occur on Wednesday, April 15. On Thursday, April 16, Washington State Department of Transportation bridge maintenance crews will close the exit to State Street and the right northbound lane of US 101 across the Chehalis River Bridge from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

These changes are in lieu of multiple daytime closures scheduled to occur each day through Thursday. Bridge crews were able to reduce the number of closures due to faster-than-projected progress on deep-cleaning the bridge’s areas that house moving mechanisms and gears that control openings for marine traffic.

Real-time traffic information is available on the Washington State Department of Transportation’s travel alerts web pages or by calling 5-1-1.

ASSE International seeking host families for exchange students

ASSE International Student Exchange Programs (ASSE) is seeking local host families for boys and girls from a variety of countries around the world. These students are 15 to 18 years of age, and would like to come to this area for the upcoming high school year or semester. These personable and academically select exchange students are conversant in English, are bright, curious and anxious to learn about this country through living as part of a family, attending high school and sharing their own culture and language with their newly adopted host family.

Those persons interested in obtaining more information about becoming a host family should call toll free: 1-800-733-2773. There are many students to choose from, so call and begin the process of selecting your new son or daughter today!

 

ASSE International (formerly American Scandinavian Student Exchange) is a non-profit, tax-exempt, public benefit organization. ASSE is officially designated as an exchange visitor program by the department of state, was founded by the Swedish Ministry of Education, cooperates with the Canadian Provincial Ministries of Education, and is approved by the Australian and New Zealand departments of education.