|For Immediate Release
Case # 09NF0761
May 26, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
FUGITIVE PAROLEE SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR FORGING CHECKS AND STEALING OVER 100 IDENTITIES
FULLERTON – A fugitive parolee was convicted today and sentenced to seven years in state prison after being arrested with over a hundred stolen identities and dozens of forged checks and driver’s licenses. Thea Ann Coogan, 44, Buena Park, pleaded guilty to one felony count each of identity theft with a prior identity theft conviction, possession of forged checks, possession of blank stolen checks, and possession of forged driver’s licenses. The defendant has two prior prison convictions for identity theft in 2003 in Orange County and perjury in 2006 in San Bernardino County.
Co-defendant Paul Frank Acosta, 40, Costa Mesa, pleaded guilty April 16, 2009, to two felony counts of receiving stolen property and was sentenced to two years in state prison.
At approximately 4:00 a.m. on March 10, 2009, Coogan was pulled over while driving during a routine traffic stop by the Buena Park Police Department because the vehicle registration had expired. The defendant told the officers that she had forgotten her driver’s license and falsely identified herself as Denise Bourne, a real person whose identity Coogan had stolen. In a prior criminal case out of San Bernardino County, Coogan was also convicted of using the stolen identity of Denise Bourne to commit perjury by using the fraudulently assumed name in court while being prosecuted for another identity theft scam.
Acosta, who was on parole and a passenger in the car when Coogan was pulled over, identified himself as the owner of the car but told the officers that he did not have the certificate of registration or proof of insurance in the vehicle. Coogan and Acosta had numerous suspicious bags of paperwork, luggage, and computers inside the vehicle. Assisting officers who responded to the scene found the defendants’ vehicle to be full of stolen mail, credit cards, stolen personal checks, credit reports, driver’s licenses, forged checks created by the defendant, and computer equipment used to manufacture fake checks and driver’s licenses. The personal identifying information of over 100 real people had been stolen. Several dozen other false driver’s licenses had been created using the names of fake people.
The defendants were arrested at the scene. Coogan was subsequently identified as a fugitive parolee who had an outstanding Orange County warrant for failing to appear for a pre-trial hearing on Jan. 9, 2009, on an unrelated forgery and identity theft case (Case #08HF1530). Coogan is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing in this case on June 5, 2009, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-37, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Deputy District Attorney Chuck Lawhorn of the White Collar Crime Team prosecuted this case.