DMV Investigators arrest Fresno Dealer on charges of Identity theft

California Department of Motor Vehicles
Media Relations Office
2415 First Avenue, MS F-122, Sacramento, CA 95818
Contact: DMV Media Relations

July 10, 2007

 Sacramento –A team of investigators from the Calif. Dept. of Motor Vehicles has arrested two Fresno men  and charged them with stealing the identities of several of their former customers at a local dealership they operated. They are identified as 52-year old Sam D’Ambrosio and 38-year old Ramiro Martinez. D’Ambrosio was the licensed dealer/owner of Zap of Fresno, which was located at 304 N. Abby Ave. in Fresno; he also did business at that address as D’Ambrosio Auto Sales. Investigators identified Martinez as an under-the-table employee of D’Ambrosia, who is also an undocumented immigrant. The dealership has been abandoned and   closed for several months.

“Dealers licensed by the department are entrusted with sizable amounts of personal information,” said DMV Director George Valverde. “When that information is compromised in any way and used for fraudulent purposes, our skilled investigators are poised to take immediate action to root out the wrongdoers and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. It is pivotal that consumer information be protected at every level,” he said.

Both men were taken into custody earlier today and booked into the Fresno County Jail. D’Ambrosio was charged with 1 count of grand theft, 4 counts of identity theft, 2 counts of conspiracy, one count of embezzlement and several additional “enhancement” charges. Martinez was charged with 4 counts of grand theft, 4 counts of identity theft, conspiracy and one enhancement for illegal entry into the U.S. Each suspect is being held on a $230,000 bond. The arrests today culminated an 8-month long investigation that was initiated in December of 2006.

Fresno District DMV Investigators said that D’Ambrosio and Martinez allegedly submitted at least 4 false loan documents to area lending institutions using the names of their victims and fraudulently received more than $106,000 in loan money for the fictitious vehicle transactions. Officials say the two suspects used personal identification information provided by the dealership’s customers on sales contracts submitted in late 2003 or early 2004. 

The victims did not realize that their information had been stolen until they received 2006 payment coupon books in the mail for vehicles they had not purchased. At that point, several complaints were filed with DMV investigators and a probe was launched by DMV investigators.

Officers from the Fresno and Tulare Police Departments assisted the DMV Fresno District Office in the investigation.

 


Save Time!  Go Online!   Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Web site (www.dmv.ca.gov), including online appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address, filings for Notice of Release of Liability, and payment of fees via secure debit transactions.

DMV is a department under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, which is under the direction of Secretary Dale E. Bonner. The DMV licenses drivers; maintains driving records; registers and tracks official ownership of vehicles and vessels; investigates auto and identity-related fraud; and licenses car dealers, driving schools, and traffic violator schools.

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