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Identity theft suspect cops plea; was getting liposuction with stolen i.d. when arrested

District Attorney Jan Scully announced today that 31 year-old Mia Garza pled no contest to multiple felony counts of identity theft, and admitted an aggravated white collar crime enhancement. At the time she committed these crimes, Garza was out on bail for identity theft charges in both Contra Costa and Sacramento counties.

Garza worked as a benefits clerk with the United Health Workers/SEIU in Oakland, California. In July 2007, Garza unlawfully accessed an electronic file containing names, addresses and personal identifying information for more than 29,000 Kaiser Permanente employees.

With the stolen Kaiser personnel data, Garza ran background checks and credit reports to obtain additional personal information and locate the victims’ commercial credit accounts. Investigators located more than 400 actual victims of identity theft in 14 counties that are attributable to Garza.

The case led to an investigation by the Sacramento Valley High Tech Task Force, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and Kaiser Permanente investigators that lasted nearly two years. Charges were filed against Garza in numerous counties throughout California. The resolution in the Sacramento case takes jurisdiction over cases in those other counties.

Garza’s most notable arrest occurred in Sacramento in 2009. When arrested, she was wearing a pre-operative surgical gown and was about to undergo a $12,000 liposuction procedure that she had arranged while posing as the victim, and using the victim’s credit card information.

Garza faces a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Sentencing is set for September 22, 2011 before the Honorable Gary E. Ransom, in Department 8 of the Sacramento Superior Court.

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