by: Kevin McCarty Updated:FEDERAL WAY, Wash. —
A Tacoma man who owns a meat and seafood business in Federal Way has been charged with stealing nearly $10,000 from holders of Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, or EBT. But a KIRO 7 investigation into the business and its owner turned up a mystery, and evidence the business and its owner may not exist.
According to charging documents in Pierce County Superior Court, John Comoza, 58, began stealing cash from EBT card holders in August of 2012, pocketing $9,468.96 over a two month period by charging the cards for purchases at John’s Meat and Seafood in Federal Way. The charging documents show each victim was charged several hundred dollars for purchases they never made.
A joint investigation by the Tacoma Police Department and United States Department of Agriculture resulted in charges being filed. A summons was issued ordering Comoza to appear in court Dec. 3 to face charges of identity theft.
But when KIRO 7 attempted to contact Comoza he could not be found. Several addresses listed for Comoza included a vacant house in Fife, another in Tacoma, an empty lot in east Tacoma and a church parking lot.
A search for John’s Meat and Seafood revealed an address in Federal Way for a residence, not a business. A woman contacted there said she had no knowledge of the business or Comoza.
Comoza may be out of state according to charging documents. But there is no evidence police or federal investigators ever made direct contact with him.