Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
January 6, 2011
Susan Kang Schroeder
IDENTITY THIEF CONVICTED OF FRAUDULENTLY PURCHASING BMW AND FALSELY REPORTING HIS STOLEN IDENTITY STOLEN
SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of identity theft and grand theft for purchasing a BMW using a stolen identity and then falsely reporting his stolen identity stolen. Ryan Matthews, 38, Laguna Hills, pleaded guilty to one felony count each of identity theft, grand theft, false personation, and two felony counts of grand theft by false pretense. He was sentenced today to nine months in jail and three years of formal probation. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a hold on the defendant, who is expected to be deported to Jamaica upon completion of his sentence.
In February 2009, Matthews is accused of using the name Terrance E. and contacting the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) to report that his identity had been stolen and his credit had been used to purchase a BMW. OCSD officers began investigating the case and determined that 10 years earlier, Matthews had stolen the identity of Terrance E., a felon in Nevada. It was this stolen identity that the defendant claimed had been stolen from him.
Additional investigation revealed that Matthews, using the identity of Terrance E. stolen a decade earlier, had been the one to purchase the BMW. This was the same vehicle the defendant claimed had been purchased by an identity thief using his stolen credit. It was determined that Matthews originally contacted the police because he had defaulted on the BMW payments and didn’t want the credit of his stolen identity to be negatively affected.
Deputy District Attorney Nikki Chambers prosecuted this case.