Stephen Gibbons, Assistant District Attorney

Dale B. Lohman, Deputy District Attorney
Major Fraud Unit
(408) 792-2599   For release on May 13, 2004     DEFENDANT SENTENCED IN IDENTITY THEFT CASE   Defendant Manuel Vasquez Contreras, 64, was sentenced yesterday to sixteen years in state prison following a six day jury trial in front of the Honorable Joyce Allegro.   Contreras was convicted on April 1, 2004 on twenty-one felony counts: three counts of Penal Code section 530.5 (identity theft); ten counts of Penal Code section 484-487 (grand theft); two counts of Penal Code section 118 (making a false declaration in an application for vehicle registration); Penal Code section 470b (possession of a counterfeit driver's license); Health & Safety Code section 11359 (possession for sale of marijuana); and two counts of Health & Safety Code section 11350 (possession of cocaine). He was also convicted on two counts of Penal Code section 12316(b) (felon in possession of ammunition) based on his federal convictions for possession of a firearm during drug trafficking and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. The jury also found true an allegation that the defendant had taken in excess of $50,000 from the victims.   Manuel Contreras used the name, date of birth, and social security number of one of the victims to obtain credit card accounts with at least eight different financial institutions and made purchases against those accounts. He also used the victim's personal information to fraudulently purchase two vehicles from local dealerships and to register the vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles using the name and driver's license number of two additional victims without their knowledge or permission. None of the victims knows how the defendant obtained their personal information.   # # #

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