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Laguna Hills man steals identity, then reports it stolen

January 7, 2011 | 10:17 am

A Jamaican immigrant who used another man’s identity to buy a BMW reported the identity stolen when he defaulted on the car payments, Orange County authorities said Friday.

Ryan Matthews, 38, of Laguna Hills reported the phony identity stolen because he wanted to continue using it after a decade and did not want its credit score to be affected negatively, authorities said.

Matthews pleaded guilty Thursday to one felony count each of identity theft, grand theft and false impersonation, and two felony counts of grand theft by false pretense related to the BMW purchase.

He was sentenced to nine months in jail and three years' probation. He is expected to be deported to Jamaica after completing his sentence, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Orange County prosecutors said Matthews used the false identity in February 2009 when he contacted the Sheriff's Department to report his identity had been stolen and his credit used fraudulently to purchase a BMW.

But sheriff’s investigators determined Matthews had stolen the identity of a felon in Nevada 10 years earlier. They also learned Matthews acquired the BMW under the assumed name of "Terrence E." and that the only identity theft involved was by him.

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-- Richard Winton

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