Man bilks victims of $20K+ in check washing, ID theft scheme

Ryan Lasko had a makeshift "skimming" device (left) and several fraudulent credit cards when he was caught by authorities last week, according to Lt. Cory Kennedy. (Courtesy LASD)

Ryan Lasko had a makeshift “skimming” device (left) and several fraudulent credit cards when he was caught by authorities last week, according to Lt. Cory Kennedy. (Courtesy LASD)

PALMDALE – A 26-year-old man busted for purchasing a car with a stolen, doctored check has been linked to a check washing and identity theft scheme that bilked more than $20,000 from at least seven victims, authorities said.

Ryan Lasko was arrested last week after a Palmdale detective spotted him driving around town in a stolen vehicle, according to Lt. Cory Kennedy of the Palmdale Station.

The Nissan Milan was reported stolen because Lasko allegedly used a bogus $13,000 check to purchase the vehicle from Antelope Valley Nissan on May 24, Kennedy said.

“The check appeared to have been altered, what we like to call ‘washing,’” Kennedy said.

Check washing is when criminals steal checks, use chemicals to erase details on the checks, and then rewrite the checks to themselves for criminal purposes.

Lasko’s washed check made it past the AV Nissan sales team, but the dealership’s finance department caught the error and reported the fraudulent purchase to the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station, Kennedy said. Authorities caught up to Lasko and the stolen vehicle on May 30.

“In the car, we find numerous pieces of information – social security numbers, license numbers, routing numbers, banking numbers – so obviously he’s involved in bank fraud,” Kennedy said.

A makeshift “skimming” device was also found inside the vehicle, Kennedy added.

“That’s a device that is inserted into an ATM… when someone uses their card it collects the information and transfers it, so we believe he’s also involved in identity theft” Kennedy said.

“Right now we have seven confirmed identify theft victims or forgery victims attributed to Mr. Lasko, and we’re still working on that,” Kennedy said.

Detectives believe Lasko stole checks from at least one local mailbox for check washing purposes, and swiped another set of checks from a Palmdale home, Kennedy said.

With the exception of the car purchase, nearly all of the bogus checks were made out to cash, with Lasko racking up more than $20,000 in transactions that authorities are aware of, Kennedy said.

On Monday (June 3), Lasko was charged with 16 felony counts, including burglary, grand theft auto, fraud, several counts of identity theft and felony possession of a controlled substance, according to court records.

Lasko pleaded not guilty to all charges, and he is due back in court on June 10 for a preliminary hearing. Lasko remains jailed on $60,000 bail.

Anyone with information on this incident is urged to contact Lt. Corry Kennedy at the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station at 661-272-2506.

  10 comments for “Man bilks victims of $20K+ in check washing, ID theft scheme

  1. Wow_reAlly
    June 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    See this is what I don’t understand , how someone with these charges is out on the streets as we speak? How does that work someone please let me know. Heard he’s on a cruse waver for 30 days because his grandmother is not doing well. But after the 30 days has to go back and do 5 yrs. 5 yrs on all of that really? He stole from people’s mail washed checks and made a device that would steal people’s bank info and technically stole a car and only gets 5 yrs? I have known and heard of people doing way less and not seriously bad or harmful things and been give way more time. I wanna know what it is about this kid that makes it so he gets special treatment ? Or better yet who is he talking to the police about? Cause you know since he’s out and able to run around in the streets for the next 30 or whatever’s left if it they are watching everywhere he goes to see whom they can arrest as well. Wouldn’t be to surprised if his name is Hellen and he’s tellin……

  2. cmf
    June 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    If he was your brother then your full of [removed] that he is legally disabled! I know him pesonally he used to live with me the only disablility he has is he is a leech on everyone he meets. That ass owes me 100$ since you think him to b so smart to steal innocent people hard earned money what does that say about you follow I’m his foot steps much little sister?

  3. Concered
    June 5, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Looks like a great citizen too! Man, looks can be deceiving!

    Here is his FB – Bet he is making his family proud!!

    • Nancy P
      June 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      Have to wonder how many of his victims were former Bex patrons since he used to work there.

      • femail
        June 5, 2013 at 5:22 pm

        That is my brother!! He is legally disabled by the state of California, not to mention thats what drugs do to people. Got into the wrong crowd. He is a good kid at heart when hes sober from drugs and alcohol. People can change, lets hope he learned a huge lesson this time. for those of you who reside in the AV arent to great of people either.

        • sikntired
          June 5, 2013 at 6:32 pm

          Say what? Probably should keep that to yourself.

        • Telling_It_Like_It_Is
          June 5, 2013 at 10:51 pm

          Sorry to break it to you there missy, but guess what?

          Your brother is an ass!

          It’s not the area that people live in that makes one an ass, it’s who you CHOOSE to associate with! So quit dumping on those of us who are upstanding people and happen to live in the AV.

        • A. Richards
          June 6, 2013 at 6:05 am

          Wow, legally disabled…. So the tax payers have to pay him and he still steals…. What the makes him disabled…. What a joke!

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