A convicted murderer and rapist is under investigation for fraud for allegedly making telephone calls from the King County Jail that included booking 40 rooms in a Salt Lake City hotel for a rock band, the county prosecutor's office says.
Deputy Prosecutor Anne Bremner said David Anthony Debernardis has been under investigation for the calls since the last week in February. He was transferred to the State Corrections Center in Shelton about a week and a half ago, she said.Debernardis, who served 11 years in prison for setting a 1976 fire that killed nine people in Miami, was sentenced in January by a King County judge to six years and 11 months in prison for rape and extortion. Debernardis was convicted of forcing prostitutes into sexual acts by posing as a policeman.
Bremner said Debernardis called a number of people in Seattle, including business women, temporary service agencies and other firms. She declined to release any names.
Jail inmates are allowed to use phones, but can make only collect calls. Bremner said when it was learned Debernardis was abusing his phone privileges, he had them taken away.
The director of sales at a Salt Lake hotel, who asked not to be identified, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that a man posing as a musician from the rock group Foreigner booked as many as 40 rooms at the hotel for February and April.
The woman investigated and when she found the calls were coming from the jail, told her staff not to accept them. She said she was able to drop the room bookings and didn't lose any money.