Suspect pleads guilty to identity theft

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PHOENIX - The following is a press release from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office:

County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced today that Adan Betanicio Guerrero, 37 (DOB 8/1/71), has pled guilty to charges related to identity theft.

Guerrero, who has been in the country illegally and living in Mesa, was indicted on June 10, 2008 after being accused of using a false social security number to buy a $33,000 truck. He pled guilty to one count of Taking Identity of Another, a class four felony, and one count of Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, a class four felony, on January 7, 2009. The defendant told police that they should be arresting real criminals and not a good family man at the time of his arrest on June 3, 2008.

According to a Mesa Police Department probable cause statement, Guerrero was using the social security number of the victim when he attempted to buy the new truck. The report indicates that the credit union that was doing the loan on the vehicle noticed that they had a customer with the same social security number. The credit union then contacted the victim and confirmed that the defendant was committing identity theft.

Upon investigation, police learned that the defendant had used the number to purchase two cars on credit since 2001. Furthermore, a credit report showed that the defendant had over $787,000 in loans under the victim's social security number. A search of the defendant's home revealed documents that indicated a stolen social security number was used in order for Guerrero to obtain employment.

"Identity theft is a personal violation that damages individuals on many different levels," Thomas said. "I'm pleased that this offender will do prison time for his offenses." On February 11, 2009, Judge Helene Abrams will sentence the defendant to no less than 2.5 years in the Department of Corrections and probation. Deputy County Attorney Jennifer Valadez is prosecuting the case.