The federal plea agreement this week by Medina attorney Steve Plowman, 51, brings to four the number of local lawyers in just a year to plead guilty to financial crimes in connection with drug trafficking, says the Justice Department. But Plowman, in one sense, was the most practical of the four money washers: He bought an actual laundromat to launder money. According to Emily Langlie, spokesperson for U.S. Attorney John McKay, Plowman admits he received more than $100,000 in cash from a client - coke trafficker Carlos Ford - to purchase the Queen Anne Maytag laundry and failed to file the required legal papers revealing his part in the deal. His client Ford, now convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, planned to use the laundromat to launder drug proceeds, says Langlie. Ford got ten years, the same stretch that his attorney now faces.
Earlier, a onetime state Supreme Court candidate, Jim White, 49, of Seattle, was nabbed for money laundering - but without a laundromat. White, a former Edmonds municipal court judge, was sentenced last December to 18 months in prison for accepting $100,000 in drug funds to launder. He shared some of the money with onetime assistant Seattle city attorney A. Mark Vanderveen, 45, of Seattle. Arrested and convicted, Vanderveen also got cell time - three months - plus three months of home confinement for failing to file a currency transaction report. However, he recently received an additional six days in stir for angrily cutting off his electronic home monitoring device only hours before he legally could do so. Additionally, Joel Manalang, 37, a Seattle attorney, pleaded guilty in August to money laundering and is awaiting sentence. He, too, laundered without a laundromat.