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Press Release

Vallejo Man Pleads Guilty to Possessing Credit Card Making Equipment and Aggravated Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gurpinder Sandhu, 47, of Vallejo, pleaded guilty today to possession of credit card making equipment and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, between July 2013 and September 2014 Sandhu and Simone Aguilar, 42, of Vallejo, used stolen identification information to manufacture credit cards and IDs. They used the stolen IDs and credit cards to obtain goods and credit from car dealerships and retail stores. Sandhu fraudulently obtained a 2014 Nissan Rogue, a 2014 Dodge Challenger a 2014 Harley Davidson motorcycle, a 2013 Yamaha motorcycle, a 2010 Chevrolet Corvette, a 2013 Dodge Challenger and a 2013 Dodge Charger.

According to the plea agreement, , law enforcement agents found many counterfeit items in Sandhu’s residence, including credit cards and California driver’s licenses. Agents also found equipment used to manufacture these counterfeit items such as an embossing machine, cameras, printers, scanners, material and chemicals used to produce identification cards, state seals, and a blue backdrop on the wall to imitate a California Department of Motor Vehicles ID photo background. Agents also found documents containing the names of real people, such as rental agreements, Comcast bills and sales receipts. Based on the fraudulent documents found in the residence, at least 50 victims have been identified.

“Identity theft poses a significant vulnerability and often wreaks havoc on the lives of innocent victims,” said Tatum King, acting special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. “Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message that HSI and our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to identify those responsible for such schemes and hold them accountable for the harm they cause.”

This case is the product of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the California Highway Patrol. Special Assistant United States Attorney Josh F. Sigal is prosecuting the case.

Sandhu is in federal custody. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez on December 8, 2015. Sandhu faces a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Aguilar is charged with conspiracy, possession of counterfeit credit cards, possession of credit card making equipment, passing fraudulent checks, and aggravated identity theft. She remains in custody with a status conference set for October 27, 2015. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated September 1, 2015

Identity Theft
Press Release Number: 2:15-cr-041 JAM