Stock photo

Stock photo

Washington nurse accused of being imposter for over a decade

Alieu Drammeh, 53, didn’t have a license, but was hired repeatedly around Puget Sound.

A Seattle nurse opened a letter from the Internal Revenue Service in 2017.

It said he had a tax debt for underreported income at nursing homes around Puget Sound. But he had never worked at a nursing home in his life.

The letter, and a subsequent federal investigation, unraveled an alleged fraud scheme by one of the man’s old community college classmates.

Federal charges say Alieu Drammeh, 53, stole the man’s identity to repeatedly get hired as a nurse in King and Snohomish counties. According to the court papers, the falsehoods went back about 15 years, and he used fake credentials to get hired as a nursing director at a Seattle care home.

Drammeh, a longtime Everett resident, was indicted by a grand jury earlier this year in U.S. District Court in Seattle for social security number misuse, a crime that carries potential prison time.

The state Department of Health sent a cease-and-desist letter to Drammeh, ordering him to stop “any and all conduct constituting the practice of nursing in Washington,” according to a public announcement this month.

Drammeh, an immigrant from The Gambia, became a registered nurse in Washington and Oregon in 2007. Three years later, the Oregon Nursing Board found something wasn’t right with his paperwork. An investigation revealed the man had forged a signature to get his license, according to the charges in federal court. The Oregon license was revoked in 2011, and the Washington license was suspended, the charges say.

Drammeh then moved to Washington. Apparently, he didn’t give up the profession. He found work at a Lynnwood nursing home, but as soon as his suspended credentials were discovered, he was fired, according to the charges.

Two weeks later, he applied for another nursing job in Everett under a different name, but his potential employer noticed Drammeh used a fake identity to apply for the job, court papers say. He didn’t get it.

Later that year, Drammeh wrote a statement to the Washington Nursing Commission, stating he “stole the ID of (his) friend and attempted to seek a job at (Everett) Transitional Care because they wanted to hire” him.

Months later, Drammeh got another nursing job. He used his real name.

The Washington commission revoked his license — which was already suspended — due to the forged Oregon paperwork.

In 2013, Drammeh tried to use the forged identity again, according to the federal charges. This time, he found work as director of nursing services at Washington Care Services, according to the charges.

Prosecutors believe Drammeh worked there without a license for six years, using the name and social security number of the other man.

Federal agents tracked down Drammeh’s old classmate. The man reported he was a registered nurse and had worked at a large medical center in the Seattle area for over 13 years.

He reported he met Drammeh in the early 2000s at a community college, where they were both taking prerequisite courses for nursing school. The man said he and Drammeh were both from The Gambia. He did not consider Drammeh to be a friend and the two had little contact over the years, according to the charges.

The man reported Drammeh was working as a life insurance salesperson around 2009, and they talked about a potential purchase. The man reported he gave Drammeh his Social Security number and driver’s license number to buy the insurance.

Drammeh never followed up about the insurance, according to the man’s report. But the classmate didn’t think anything of it. Then he got the letter from the IRS.

The man reached out to Drammeh in 2017. They met at a coffee shop and the man explained his suspicions. Drammeh apologized and agreed to repay part of the man’s debt, according to the charges. Drammeh gave the man a cashier’s check for $11,000. The man reported he estimated the identity theft cost him several thousand dollars due to tax refunds that were withheld to pay off his debt.

Around the same time in 2017, police in Lynnwood arrested Drammeh for investigation of filling a shopping cart at Kohl’s with $2,900 in merchandise, then walking out the door. Drammeh completed a diversion program through Snohomish County Superior Court, and the felony charges were dropped.

Meanwhile, in September 2019, a state Department of Health investigator contacted Drammeh’s old classmate about a reported theft of cash from a nursing home resident. He learned Drammeh was still using his identity, according to the charges.

The pair got coffee again, and court records say Drammeh promised to stop.

Later that month, Drammeh reportedly resigned from his job at Washington Care Services by leaving a letter on the desk of an administrator.

“The main reason, I am leaving,” the letter said, “is that I have used another person’s, identity to work here.”

Drammeh wrote he had wasted a “substantial amount” of time and money trying to get his license reinstated, but he could not. In the letter, he apologized for “my misconduct of taking someone else’s identity to practice nursing.”

A federal jury trial is scheduled for February.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Northwest

Police lights
Federal Way man indicted on federal drug, gun charges

Police, FBI also investigating the 31-year-old man in connection to a Nov. 2021 fatal shooting.

t
Auburn shooting kills one teen, leaves two others seriously injured

Police don’t have a suspect description in Sept. 23 incident

t
Diversity in Law Enforcement Career workshop set by police agencies

Six South King County police departments partner to attract more diverse workforce

File photo.
Renton man pleads guilty to unlawful possession of explosive devices

He planned to use Molotov cocktails on a Seattle Police building during the 2020 protests.

t
Auburn woman arrested as suspect in fatal hit-and-run

A license plate registered to a car owned by the woman was found at the scene of the Sept. 15 crash.

t
Mayors, legislators, county officials pen letter against a large airport near Enumclaw

Urges group studying state airport needs to drop East King County site from consideration

t
Sound Transit participates in Rail Safety Week

Emphasis on importance of safety around trains and tracks

Courtesy photo
State superintendent announces proposal for free school meals

Proposal asks WA Legislature to allocate $86 million annually.

Photos by Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
Washington’s COVID-19 state of emergency to end Oct. 31

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the order will end nearly three years after he first issued it.

t
Man killed by police at Federal Way Transit Center

Incident Feb. 4 started on bus; man armed with knife reportedly charged at officers

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII: Auburn cop’s death-themed tattoos go public

Episode 7 in this special podcast series explores the release of unredacted photos showing Jeffrey Nelson’s tattoos.

This photo provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation shows smoke from a wildfire burning south of Lind, Wash., on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Sheriff’s officials are telling residents in the Eastern Washington town to evacuate because of a growing wildfire south of town that was burning homes. (Courtesy photo)
How to stay safe from wildfire smoke in Washington

Department of Health reminds Washingtonians to stay indoors when smoke is in the air.