CA Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Identity of VA Auto Shop Owner
Published June 1, 2023
A Los Angeles, CA, man pleaded guilty May 23 to fraud and identity theft charges in connection with stealing the identity of the owner of a Richmond, VA, auto shop, Lotsey & Hardy Tire Company.
According to court documents, around January 2022, Daniel Cruz, 30, obtained the owner’s personal information and used that information to take over the auto shop and its owner’s accounting software, bank accounts, email addresses and phone numbers.
Through approximately February 2023, armed with this sensitive information, Cruz re-routed calls placed to Lotsey & Hardy to his own phone, transferred money to his personal bank account from bank accounts of the shop and its owner, took out loans in the owner’s name, ordered and picked up auto parts in Los Angeles and billed them to the Richmond auto shop, and ordered auto parts by impersonating the shop’s owner.
In all, the loss resulting from Cruz’s crimes totaled at least $34,514.87.
Cruz is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 31. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two consecutive years in prison for aggravated identity theft, and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for wire fraud.
Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Kyo M. Dolan, special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after Senior U.S. Magistrate Judge Summer L. Speight accepted the plea.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shea Gibbons is prosecuting the case.
Source: U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of Virginia