|Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
|For Immediate Release
August 20th, 2003
Senior Deputy District Attorney
(714) 347-8699 (O)
(714) 490-8956 (P)
SANTA ANA — The Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced the conviction of a husband and wife, real estate team for 19 felony counts related to identity theft. A jury convicted the husband, Vijay Soni, 60, and the wife, Supriti Soni, 43, late Tuesday, August 19, 2003, for exploiting and using personal information taken from customers who purchased real estate property from the couple’s First Countrywide Realty or used the couple’s loan company called Fastrak Funding in Irvine between 1997 and 2000.
Mr. Soni was convicted of four (4) counts of forgery, two (2) counts of credit fraud, and seven (7) counts of recording a forged real estate document and faces up to 11 years and four months in state prison. Mrs. Soni was convicted of six (6) counts of forgery, three (3) counts of credit fraud, and seven (7) counts of recording a forged real estate document and faces up to 14 years and 4 months in state prison. They are scheduled for sentencing October 3, 2003, by the Honorable Ronald Kreber in Department 42 of the Orange County Superior Court, Central Justice Center. They were taken into custody pending sentencing.
The Sonis fraudulently used their former clients’ personal identifying information such as names and social security numbers for their own personal and financial benefit. The Sonis used this information to defraud four sets of victims and purchased $6,000 worth of furniture, purchased a Mercedes Benz vehicle, attempted to borrow money, and transferred the ownership of residential homes in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Santa Ana.
“The Sonis took advantage of their clients’ trust when they exploited the unsuspecting customers’ information for their own financial gain. They left these families with large financial liabilities, goods and property purchased in their name without their knowledge, many hidden costs, and a huge amount of grief to clean up their credit,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Doug Brannan.
“Identity theft is a crime that invades the private sanctity of victims. This is a crime that makes good citizens uneasy in the pursuit of doing ordinary things such as buying a home and trusting the people they are dealing with,” stated Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
For the last two years, identity theft was the leading consumer-fraud complaint according to the Federal Trade Commission. In 2001, California was second only to the District of Columbia in reported incidents. At least forty-five out of 100,000 Californians have been victimized by identity theft. The Office of the District Attorney is currently seeking federal funding to combat identity theft crimes.
“Run periodic credit reports on yourself, deal only with reputable businesses, never give out personal identifying information over the internet, and never ignore suspicious bills or paperwork that is mailed to you, “ said Senior Deputy District Attorney Doug Brannan.