Two sentenced for $350,000 in identity thefts

Two Fife-based identity thieves were sentenced Tuesday to four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than $350,000 through identity thefts.

Ryder Guthrie, 32, and Michelle Hudson, 33, were arrested in August after an investigation found they used stolen identities to claim $50,000 in unemployment benefits and defraud credit unions of more than $300,000, according to the Department of Justice.

The two pleaded guilty in November in U.S. District Court in Seattle to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.

“For four years, these defendants lived the high life by using other people’s money,” U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said during the sentencing, according to a Justice Department release. “(They) attacked (the victims’) character, their reputation and their assets by a nonviolent but equally destructive means.”

Guthrie and Hudson worked out of hotels in Washington, Oregon and Northern California, stealing identities of friends and relatives, former employees of a defunct business and credit union employees.

When fleeing a Fife motel, the two left behind a laptop with evidence detailing many of their frauds.

The two mined data to build detailed credit profiles of their victims, which they used to make fraudulent unemployment claims and create bank accounts in their names.

They then wrote bad checks and withdrew money from the accounts before the checks bounced.

Guthrie and Hudson also stole money from legitimate accounts belonging to the victims.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker