eSAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Six South Bay residents have been indicted on federal fraud and conspiracy charges for their alleged involvement in a long-running and widespread identity theft scheme, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Mark Guardado, Jr., 38, of San Jose; Ashley Overton, 34, of Palo Alto; Juan Dagio, 40, of San Jose; Brian Clapp, 37, of San Jose; Jaime Valencia-Arias, 23, of San Jose, and Andrew Perez, 30, of San Jose. Perez remains at large.READ MORE: COVID: Bay Area Vaccine Hunters Help Those Eligible Struggling To Find Appointments
The 18-count indictment alleges the defendants used real and counterfeit mailbox keys to steal mail and use victims’ personal information to create fake identities and drain victims’ accounts, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California David Anderson.
The crimes were alleged to have occurred between January 2018 and August 2019.
According to the indictment, the defendants raided apartment building mailboxes throughout the South Bay, including in Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and San Jose. After stealing mail in bulk from apartment buildings, the defendants obtained personal identifying information, such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, and dates of birth, from the stolen mail and used it to create counterfeit driver licenses in the names of the victims, the complaint said.READ MORE: Twitter Sues Texas AG Over Alleged Retaliation For Banning Trump's Account After Capitol Riot
Using the counterfeit driver licenses, the defendants activated and used stolen or fraudulent credit cards, negotiated checks, and were able to obtain other things of value including hotel rooms and cash advances at a casino, the indictment alleged.
Guardado and Clapp made their initial federal court appearances Wednesday morning. Guardado was ordered detained pending a bail study and a hearing set for December 14. Clapp was released on a $25,000 bond. Valencia-Arias was scheduled for an initial appearance on Thursday.
A status hearing for the defendants was scheduled for January 12.MORE NEWS: COVID Reopening: San Francisco Unified Reveals More Details Of April Reopening