Santa Barbara CA Feb 26 2011 County Sheriff’s deputies are emphasizing the need for people to safeguard their personal information after the arrest last week of five Los Angeles-area people on suspicion of identity theft and use of fraudulent credit cards in the Santa Ynez Valley.
About 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, security officers at the Chumash Casino Resort detained Thomas Charles Lamb, 46, of San Clemente and Cynthia Borjas, 36, of Sherman Oaks on suspicion of credit card fraud.
After they called sheriff’s deputies, detectives determined that Lamb and Borjas had been working together to use fraudulent credit cards at the casino to get cash and to gamble, said sheriff’s spokesman Drew Sugars. They also had fraudulent credit cards in their possession, he said.
After further investigation, three more suspects were arrested the next day.
Lamb and Borjas were booked into county jail on charges of criminal conspiracy, commercial burglary and use of a fraudulent credit card.
Lamb’s bail was set at $500,000 after he was found to be on probation in a San Diego County case of identity theft.
Borjas is being held without bail for a parole violation. She was also arrested on charges of misappropriation of lost property.
On Wednesday, Feb. 16, detectives arrested three other people who had been seen with Lamb and Borjas at the time of the crimes.
Ety Herawaty Siauw, 42, of Venice; Walter Andrew Harrsch, 45, of Van Nuys; and Michael Joseph West, 36, of Los Angeles were seen in a car at a gas station near the casino.
Items inside the vehicle indicated that Siauw, Harrsch and West were helping Lamb and Borjas, Sugars said.
Detectives found equipment used to make fraudulent credit cards and paperwork containing the personal information of various identity-theft victims. Detectives also found various suspected drugs including heroin, methamphetamine and hashish, drug paraphernalia, and several thousand dollars in cash, he added.
The trio was booked into county jail on 11 charges, including criminal conspiracy, use of a fraudulent credit card, identity theft, possession of card-making machinery, and several drug charges.
Bail for West was set at $50,000. Harrsch is being held without bail due to a parole violation. Siauw is being held without bail due to an immigration detainer.
Anyone with information about any of the suspects is asked to call the sheriff’s Detective Bureau at 681-4150 or the sheriff’s anonymous tip line at 681-4171.