A convicted scam artist accused of targeting senior citizens was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison, more than double the standard range.
Investigators suspect that 49-year-old James Schmidt may have duped a string of Washington residents out of more than $100,000. He was ordered to pay $49,000 in restitution.
Deputy prosecutor Therese Murphy said evidence suggests Schmidt’s flimflam career may stretch over more than 20 years.
The Washington State Patrol began the investigation that led to the current theft charges after a Yakima couple’s daughter reviewed records following her father’s death. Besides another Yakima County victim, Schmidt was also charged in connection with cases in Whatcom and Kittitas counties.
The investigation uncovered several other victims for which charges were not filed because of questions over sufficient evidence or their competency to testify, Murphy said.
Schmidt faces up to another year in jail for a similar theft charge in King County that was filed before the Yakima case. He will be taken to Seattle for sentencing before starting the rest of his sentence.