|For Immediate Release
Case # 08HF0468
May 7, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR STEALING IDENTITIES WITH IDENTITY THEFT RING IN SERIES OF
WINDOW-SMASH VEHICLE BURGLARIES
NEWPORT BEACH – A Lake Elsinore man faces arraignment tomorrow for his role in an identity theft ring that stole personal identifying information obtained in a series of window-smash vehicular burglaries of luxury cars. Jesus Gonzalez Lara Jr., 32, Lake Elsinore, is charged with two felony counts of second degree commercial burglary and two felony counts of acquiring access card account information for fraudulent use. Lara is also charged with a sentencing enhancement for a 2005 strike conviction for residential burglary. Lara is being held without bail and faces a maximum sentence of ten years in state prison if convicted. He is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Thursday, May 8, 2008 at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-2, harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.
Four co-defendants pleaded guilty on April 29, 2008. Kenneth Nieves, 38, Fountain Valley, was convicted of felonies for grand theft by false pretense, forgery, second degree commercial burglary, and identity theft and was sentenced to five years in state prison and ordered to pay $70,000 in restitution. Natasha Kazol, 24, Anaheim, was convicted of felonies for two counts of second degree commercial burglary, acquiring access card account information, and grand theft by false pretense and was sentenced to two years in state prison. Robert Taffolla, 40, Santa Ana, was convicted of felonies for two counts of receiving stolen property and two counts of acquiring access card account information and was sentenced to two years in state prison. Richard Figueroa, 38, Santa Ana, was convicted of felonies for receiving stolen property and three counts of possessing completed checks with the intent to defraud. Figueroa has three prison priors for receiving stolen property in 2001, vehicle tampering in 2004, and possession of methamphetamine in 1999, and is expected to be sentenced on May 16, 2008 in Department H-2. Restitution hearings for Kazol, Taffolla, and Figueroa are pending. A fifth co-defendant, Chris Angela Maggio, 39, Aliso Viejo, is charged with felonies for grand theft by false pretense and five counts of second degree commercial. A $70,000 warrant was issued March 10, 2008 for her arrest.
Between October 28, 2007 and January 30, 2008, Lara is accused of participating in an identity theft ring with co-defendants Nieves, Kazol, Maggio, Figueroa, and Taffolla. Lara is accused of breaking into several luxury vehicles in Dana Point, Irvine, Newport Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Riverside by smashing in the windows to burglarize the cars. Lara is accused of stealing items from the vehicles with his co-defendants that contained personal information of the victims including brief cases, computer thumb drives, and documents containing personal identifying information. Lara, with his co-defendant, is accused of using the stolen personal information to commit identity theft and open lines of credit under the names of several victims. The defendants are accused of using the lines of credit to buy personal items, including a diamond ring and a BMW car.
Deputy District Attorney Jan Christie of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.