Up to nine people may be charged with false reporting.
Up to nine people may be charged with false reporting. MattGush/Getty Images

Prosecutors in SeaTac are reviewing the strange case of a hoax robbery that took place in King County last fall.

The case, which has now been closed by the King County Sherriff's Office, stems from an October incident in which officers were called to the scene of Bob’s Burgers & Teriyaki in SeaTac. Eight people—one employee and seven customers—claimed to have been tied up during the course of a robbery, and two female customers claimed they had been sexually assaulted by the perpetrators.

The alleged victims also claimed that the robbers had stolen money, jewelry, and a truck before fleeing the scene. According to on-scene reports by a responding officer, "The females were all hysterical, crying, and hugging themselves shaking. They were in obvious fear caused by the events that transpired prior to our arrival."

The alleged victims pinned the crime on two Samoan men, and following the incident, there was an outpouring of support for both the victims and the business.

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Further investigation by the Sherriff's Department, however, determined that the entire thing was a hoax designed to help those involved apply for U visa status, which permits the victims of crimes to stay in the U.S.

"Today I can confirm to you it was all a lie," King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht said at a press conference in November." Participants decided they would pin this fake robbery on two Samoan males. Not only do we have a hoax, we have a racially-motivated one."

Should the SeaTac prosecutor choose to pursue the case, up to nine people may be charged with false reporting. The sheriff's office will also forward the charges to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to consider federal charges.