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Deputies arrest pair in identity theft case

Two suspected of ties with local gang, sheriff’s investigator says

Posted: August 5, 2008 9:16 p.m.
Updated: October 7, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 

Two Santa Clarita residents with suspected ties to a local gang and identity theft are in custody, a sheriff's investigator said Tuesday.

Loretta Blair, 42, and Steven Bracamontes, 25, were arrested at the end of July, Sgt. James Anderson said.

Blair's Canyon Country home "is known to be a haven for a gang," of which Bracamontes, her boyfriend, is a member, Anderson said.

Sheriff's Detective Pat O'Neill said there was no connection between the gang and identity theft.

Bracamontes was arrested July 23 in possession of fraudulent checks, Anderson said.

After the arrest by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's Community Interaction Team, he said detectives followed up by going to Blair's home with a search warrant on July 30.

At the house, Anderson said deputies found and seized profiles used for identity theft, surveillance equipment and computers. Blair was arrested for violation of her probation.

Blair was arrested and booked on a felony charge on May 8, according to the inmate information section of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Web site. Anderson did not know Tuesday afternoon what that arrest was related to.

Anderson said at least one fraudulent check for $738 was passed, and added that two victims have been contacted.

Bracamontes was booked on two felony forgery charges, and two felony charges of possession of identity
information, and he is being held at North County Correctional Facility in lieu of $241,000 bail.

Awaiting a hearing to be scheduled by the Probation Department, Blair is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail at Century Regional Detention Facility.

"Fraud and identity theft is an easier way to steal money," Anderson said. "It's the hardest crime to solve."

Identity theft continues to be a problem in the Santa Clarita Valley, Anderson said. The Sheriff's Station employs two full-time fraud investigators, who he said take on about 20 active investigations every month.

"These cases aren't easy," Anderson said. "It's a long, drawn-out process."

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