Recently, deputies working out of the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station responded to a domestic violence call in Valencia. When they arrived, they discovered money, narcotics, and paraphernalia, as well as mail and credit cards, addressed to people other than the suspects. After initially seeing these things, detectives were able to get a warrant to perform a more thorough search of the area.
During the more in-depth search, deputies discovered firearms, cash, scales, drug packaging items, and hundreds of pieces of mail. Two people were arrested on charges including identity theft and possession of a controlled substance while armed.
Identity theft is covered under California Penal Code 530.5 PC and is described as taking someone’s personal identifying information and using it in an unlawful or fraudulent manner. The crime is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the nature of the crime and the defendant’s prior criminal history.
A few examples of identity theft include, but are not limited to:
- Signing the name of someone else on a check you intend to cash
- Getting a free lunch by using someone else’s school ID
- Avoiding a ticket by giving a police officer the name and driver’s license info of someone else
When charged as a misdemeanor, identity theft can be punished by up to one year in county jail. When charged as a felony, the potential jail sentence is increased to up to three years. Sometimes a judge will sentence a defendant to summary probation (in the case of misdemeanor charges) or formal probation (in the case of felony charges) instead of jail time.
Due to the sheer number of stolen mail and credit cards (hundreds), as well as the narcotics and weapons charges, it is unlikely that the suspects in this case will face misdemeanor charges.