|For Immediate Release
Case # 10CF1569 May 2, 2013
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
FORMER POLICE OFFICER CONVICTED AND SENTENCED FOR DEFRAUDING CLIENTS BY STEALING PAYMENT FOR UNPERFORMED, UNLICENSED PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR WORK
SANTA ANA – A former police officer working as an unlicensed private investigator was convicted and sentenced today for defrauding his clients. Kevin Michael Sianez, 56, Fountain Valley, pleaded guilty to a court offer to 17 felony counts of grand theft by false pretense, 11 felony counts of fraudulently using an access card, two felony counts of identity theft, four felony counts of possession of a firearm by a felon stemming from a 1998 conviction for stalking, six felony counts of obtaining services through false representation, and one felony count each of perjury by declaration, computer access and fraud, and possession of ammunition by a prohibited person. Sianez also pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count each of unlawful representation as a private investigator, engaging in the business of private investigation, and doing business without a valid license with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and property damage over $65,000. Sianez was sentenced to four years in state prison stayed and ordered to serve one year in jail and make monthly restitution payments of $5,000 until he fulfills the total losses of over $187,000.
Sianez worked as a police officer between 1979 and 1986 for the Santa Ana and Stanton Police Departments. The Stanton Police Department no longer exists.
Between November 2005 and June 2010, Sianez owned and illegally operated private investigation services without a license under the names KMS Investigations, Fore-Front Investigations, and 4Front Investigations. Business and Professions Code 7523 requires proper licensing through the California Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Security and Investigative Services to operate as a private investigator. Sianez falsely identified himself as a licensed private investigator.
Sianez posted false reviews of his various businesses on Internet investigator and referral websites to optimize his search engine presence. He used these fabricated reviews to mislead potential clients into believing his businesses had nationwide offices and investigators, when in fact he operated out of a small suite in Fountain Valley with less than five employees, who were primarily family members. Sianez defrauded clients by performing little or no work on their cases after receiving payment. He defrauded properly licensed private investigation firms by subcontracting investigative work to them and failing to pay for their services.
The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Bureau of Investigation began investigating this case after receiving a complaint in March 2010 from the California Department of Consumer Affairs. OCDA Investigators arrested Sianez June 24, 2010.
Senior Deputy District Attorney John Christl of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.