Former DMV Employee Sentenced to over 3 Years in Prison for Bank Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley sentenced Sarah Laray Sandoval, 40, of West Sacramento, today to three years and three months in prison for her participation in a scheme that involved stealing U.S. Mail and DMV data to commit bank fraud and identity theft, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
San Francisco Division Inspector in Charge Rafael Nunez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service stated, “Postal Inspectors work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners in law enforcement to arrest and prosecute those individuals responsible for fraud schemes committed against the public.”
On May 10, 2018, Sandoval pleaded guilty to three counts of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, between December 2016 and June 2, 2017, Sandoval and co-defendant Anthony Andrew Zamarron, 38, of Elk Grove, and others, stole mail throughout Sacramento and Yolo Counties, including neighborhoods in West Sacramento, Elk Grove, and Sacramento. Then Sandoval and her associates cataloged the stolen mail, profiled victims for identity theft, and researched victims using DMV databases. Sandoval and her associates opened bank and credit accounts in the name of mail theft victims. They forged signatures and deposited the forged checks into accounts in Sandoval's name or into fraudulently opened accounts in victim names. They caused financial institutions to send debit and credit cards and related items to U.S. mail boxes under their control or to which they had access, including Sandoval's own residence.
Sandoval worked at the California DMV starting on June 26, 2000, and was in the DMV “Mandatory Actions Unit” from 2005 to July 14, 2017. She was responsible for making final decisions on reinstating the driving privileges for, among other offenses, driving under the influence. As a senior technician, Sandoval had access to statewide DMV records for license holders and databases containing license holders’ assigned driver license number and personal information, including name, date of birth, business, or residence mailing address. Sandoval accessed DMV data to assist the bank fraud and identity theft scheme.
Sandoval and her associates’ bank fraud and identity theft scheme involved over 100 different victims and intended loss of over $77,000.
Charges are pending against Zamarron, and he has not yet appeared in federal court on these charges. He is presently in custody in the state of Nevada for unrelated charges. The charges against Zamarron are only allegations; he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is the product of investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with assistance from the California DMV Special Investigations Unit and the Elk Grove Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.