By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Two more charges have been filed against 32-year-old Nicholas Broughton (right), the repeat offender arrested one month ago after stealing an SUV in Tacoma, getting detected by LoJack here in West Seattle – drawing the Guardian One helicopter (whose crew published video of the incident) – crashing the SUV through a fence, and breaking into a relative’s home.
By the time the new charges were filed, Broughton had been out of jail a week and a half, and while prosecutors asked the court to reinstate a higher bail, a judge told them no.
We discovered all this while making a routine check of the case’s status, via online court files; here’s what we found:
Two counts of identity theft were added last Wednesday to the three other charges Broughton already faces – possession of a stolen vehicle, hit and run, and first-degree criminal trespass. That’s the same day he was set to be arraigned on the previous charges; the documents show prosecutors asked the court that day to increase Broughton’s bail back to $100,000, where it was set shortly after his arrest, then reduced to $25,000 on February 5th by Superior Court Judge Catherine Shaffer. The jail register shows Broughton got out on bail February 16th.
According to the documents, though prosecutors on Wednesday (February 26th) pointed out Broughton’s lengthy criminal history and multiple previous warrants for “failure to appear,” Superior Court Judge Patrick Oishi rejected the request to raise Broughton’s bail, and he remains out. (Broughton was present for the hearing, the record shows.)
The new charges, according to court documents, stem from thousands of dollars in fraud involving credit cards and checks stolen in at least two incidents – one in West Seattle in December, one in January that happened two weeks before his arrest following the stolen-truck incident.
The fraud was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, and traces the investigation to Broughton having been arrested in mid-January at the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, allegedly trying to use a forged driver’s license. The investigation report, included with the documents adding the identity-theft charges to Broughton’s case, says:
Subsequent investigation by Auburn police located multiple fraudulent and stolen items to include (three) fake Washington temporary driver’s licenses, credit cards, checks, and lists of social security numbers, names, and other financial information.
The document goes on to list the names of three victims, at least one of whom is a West Seattle resident who told investigators that he had been the victim of a car prowl and the stolen items had resulted in more than $10,000 of fraud. The document also says that when arrested, Broughton was in possession of meth, heroin, speed, and oxycodone. And it says he confessed to that possession as well as the fraud allegations when interviewed by Secret Service agents at the South King County SCORE jail.
Less than a week later, the agent’s narrative continues, a woman identified as Broughton’s girlfriend was arrested “for passing counterfeit checks and using counterfeit ID’s” – related to two of the same three victims whose items were listed in Broughton’s case. One card, belonging to the West Seattle victim’s wife, was used at Victoria’s Secret and the Apple Store in University Village and a Nordstrom’s store in Tacoma. The day after her January 22nd arrest, the document says, she and Broughton “voluntarily came to the Secret Service office in Seattle to further discuss the investigation.” (That is the only indication we have of how soon Broughton was released from jail following the casino arrest; SCORE Jail online records are not as detailed as those for the county’s main jails in Seattle and Kent.)
Broughton is quoted as acknowledging he bought more than $4,300 in merchandise at a Sears store in Tacoma – almost half of that spent on a $2,100 TV – and that he “resold the items for US currency on Craigslist.”
When the original charges were filed against Broughton – who is described as having an alias, Jason Draper – those court documents called him an “11-time felon.” We obtained the photo above from the state Department of Corrections, the only law-enforcement agency that will routinely provide mugshots to media by request, though these types of photos are only in their files if the suspect/defendant has served time in the state prison system.
Broughton is scheduled to return to court for a case-setting hearing on March 12th. We haven’t been able to determine from court records if charges were filed against the aforementioned girlfriend. The document written by the Secret Service agent noted they were “still continuing to receive new reports” related to her and Broughton, who is mentioned as also using an alias, Jason Draper.