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Detectives seize phony checks

Santa Clarita man arrested for identity theft

Posted: July 15, 2008 1:45 a.m.
Updated: September 15, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Evidence such as checks, check stationary paper, and computer software, found with Mohsen Moaddab. Moaddab, 43, was arrested in connection to an identity case, last Friday, July 11.

 
Sheriff’s detectives seized an undisclosed number of forged and stolen checks when they arrested a Santa Clarita man for identity theft Friday afternoon, officials announced Monday.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for Mohsen Moaddab, 43, early Friday morning after detectives Max Godinez and Sam Soehnel linked a series of identity theft cases to the man, Sgt. James Anderson said.

Anderson said Moaddab, currently on parole, has prior identity theft convictions on his record.

Check stationary, credit reports of a targeted victim, stolen mail, fraudulent checks and copies of rent checks paid to an apartment complex management company were seized by detectives.

Authorities were initially tipped off about Moaddab’s alleged identity theft operation when employees at a local Sears reportedly received fraudulent checks. Shortly thereafter, the same Sears reported a second instance of receiving fraudulent checks.

After an investigation, Godinez and Soehnel were able to link the two cases together and secure a search warrant for Moaddab’s arrest.

“We had video of checks being passed and our detectives linked Mohsen as a possible suspect,” Anderson said. “His face was clearly identifiable on the video. He’s been convicted of this before.”

Moaddab apparently took actual checking account information from checks he physically stole from incoming mail or copies of rent checks he reportedly obtained from the apartment complex where he lived with his mother. Once the checks were in his possession, Moaddab apparently printed that information onto the blank check stationary he purchased. According to Anderson, the stationary could be purchased at any office supply store.

Once the checks were printed, Moaddab was able to use them at any location, such as a store or bank. Some of the seized fraudulent checks were reportedly for cash withdrawals; at least two of the checks were used in the incident at Sears.

In addition to allegedly stealing real checks from incoming mail, Moaddab reportedly ran a credit check on one of his victims to inquire about the status of an account. The physical credit report was among the evidence seized by detectives.

Also seized were about five computer flash drives, though the contents were unknown.

The investigation was ongoing for at least two months, according to Godinez. The amount of money involved was unknown as of Monday morning, though Anderson and Godinez estimate it to reach the $10,000 range.

Moaddab, who was the primary caregiver for his mother, was held at Men’s Central Jail on felony charges of identity theft and fraud; bail was not set since he was on parole at the time of arrest. An arraignment is scheduled today at Newhall Municipal Court.

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