South Bay pair sentenced for major ID theft ring

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prison sentenceSAN DIEGO — Two people who stole more than 1,500 identities in a massive identity-theft ring based in the South Bay were each sentenced to prison Tuesday.

Jose Alfredo Castillo, 38, and Maria Isabel Valdivia, 32, were convicted of various felonies, including conspiracy, ID theft, receiving stolen property and burglary.

Judge Laura Halgren sentenced Castillo to nearly four years behind bars and Valdivia to five years in state prison, part of which will be served on mandatory supervision.

Authorities said the defendants ran the ID theft and mail theft ring out of their home. Most of the personal information is believed to have come from stolen real estate files.

“These individuals were sophisticated enough to know the local agency thresholds on the amount of money that would require an open investigation,” said Chula Vista police Chief David Bejarano. “Using this knowledge, they stayed under this dollar amount to avoid law enforcement detection.”

Investigators found numerous items involved in the ID theft ring at the defendants’ home, including computers, printers, dozens of stolen credit cards and lists describing how to make counterfeit IDs.

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