3 rent SF townhouse with stolen ID

February 20, 2009 12:48:27 PM PST
Two men and a woman who allegedly stole the identity of a New York man and used it to rent a San Francisco townhouse and apply for credit cards in his name have been charged in San Francisco Superior Court with 24 felony counts, including identity theft and various drug offenses.

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Prosecutors say the group was also found with the financial information of many other potential victims.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Sullivan called the case "egregious."

"It is the most sophisticated form of financial stalking and identity theft," he said.

Justin Pace, 27, Tanya Shaia, 21, and Mark Rodrick, 38, appeared in court on the charges this morning. Their arraignment was postponed until Tuesday at the request of their attorneys.

Mark Giordano, of Fishkill, N.Y., notified prosecutors in San Francisco on Feb. 12 that he had discovered the three had been impersonating him.

According to Sullivan, Giordano was able to provide investigators with detailed information, including the lease agreement the three allegedly signed in his name at the Parkmerced apartment complex, located near San Francisco State University.

U.S. Secret Service agents and San Francisco police served a warrant on the apartment Wednesday and arrested the three, seizing hundreds of documents, including detailed financial profiles, mail and credit cards related to Giordano and between 25 and 50 other possible victims, as well as three computers, several hard drives, and 17 computer memory devices, according to Sullivan.

Drugs were also seized, including nearly 4 grams of methamphetamine from Shaia, Sullivan said.

Sullivan, who said he was not sure how the three allegedly obtained the information, told Judge Diane Elan Wick this morning that he expects to bring "numerous other charges" related to additional victims as the investigation proceeds, and asked to set bail for each at $500,000.

Steven Gayle, the public defender representing Shaia, argued for lower bail.

"She is not a danger to the community," he said.

Wick agreed to set bail at $500,000. The three are due back in court Tuesday morning to be arraigned and enter pleas.

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