Forgery/ Identity Theft Ring Discovered in the Valley

July 31, 2008

Los Angeles: On Monday, July 28, detectives assigned to LAPD’s Commercial Crimes Division, Valley Financial Section arrested 3 persons for forgery, conspiracy, and identity theft.

In March 2007, a student at California State University Northridge (CSUN) was approached by a suspect who asked the victim to cash a check at his bank. In exchange for his efforts, he would be given several hundred dollars. Unfortunately, he was unaware the check was forged. Several days later, a hold was placed on his account to cover the bank loss.

In the following year, several reports were made with similar circumstances where occasionally, a student was arrested for cashing forged checks. The suspects who provided the checks disappeared with little or no leads.

In several crimes the suspects produced handguns which intimidated the students and intimidated them into assisting in the crimes.

Over the past few months, similar crimes occurred with more frequency at both Valley and Pierce Colleges. The Detectives began to put these cases together based on crime patterns and managed to compile a suspect list.

On Monday, July 28, 2008 detectives arrested two suspects after search and arrest warrants were served. Twenty-two year old Brandon Saighe, of Van Nuys, believed to be the ring leader was charged with robbery and is being held on a $1-million bail. Twenty-two year-old Milanette Ramirez of Los Angeles was charged with identity theft. Twenty-four year-old Magally Tejada of Van Nuys was charged with forgery and conspiracy.

Additional charges are expected and other suspects are still being sought.

Financial Crimes Investigators are coordinating with the CSUN Police and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Detectives are seeking additional persons that may have been victimized by this forgery and identity theft crime ring.

Investigators are asking for anyone with information to call Detective Tammy Thomas of the Valley Financial Section at 818-374-9420. After hours and on weekends, please call the 24-hour Detective Information Desk at 1-877-LAW-FULL (529-3855).