'Brazen' ID thief receives eight-year sentence

Wrote $19,000 check for iPads at Walnut Creek Apple store

A Concord woman has been sentenced to eight years in state prison in two cases of identity theft.

Generose Yambao, 32, of Concord, pleaded no contest to 15 counts of identity theft, second degree burglary, and attempted grand theft. Under the new state criminal sentencing guidelines, she will serve her sentence in county prison. The eight-year county prison sentence is the most severe sentence to date to be served in for an identity thief in Contra Costa County, according to District Attorney Mark A. Peterson.

Yambao used the identities of eight victims between July and November 2011 to create fake credit card accounts and checks to steal just over $46,000 worth of merchandise and cash from more than ten retailers, banks and online services.

In one incident on Peterson described as "brazen," Yambao walked into the Apple Store in Walnut Creek, pretending to be the victim, and wrote a check for 19 iPads and a MacBook Air worth $19,255. The iPads were never recovered. Yambao was photographed on store security cameras making the purchase in September 2011.

Another victim suffered through what Peterson called "an identity theft victim's worst nightmare."

Less than 35 minutes after that victim's purse was stolen from her locked car at Round Valley Regional Park on November 2011, her credit cards were being used at a gas station in Brentwood.

Although she cancelled her credit cards and checking accounts and placed flags on her credit report and filed a police report, each evening after work, she would return home to find she had dozens of email notifications that credit cards had been opened in her name. Those included bank, store and PayPal accounts. She would spend the next day contacting the banks and retailers cancelling these fraudulent accounts and then come home again to find more notifications.

The defendant also transferred $2,500 cash from that victim's bank account to a fraudulent PayPal account and cashed fraudulent checks totaling over $5000. Fake g-mail accounts and cell phone numbers were set up in victim's name and later linked to the suspect Yambao.

The district attorney's office credited two police officers for their work leading to the arrest and conviction.

Sergeant Tyrone Davis of the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department contacted every retailer , interviewed store clerks, and obtained documents and surveillance video, if available. He wrote and served search warrants for credit card applications from the banks and credit card companies that would not release the information. Through his work, Davis was able to identify Yambao as the suspect.

Detective Andy Brown, of the Walnut Creek Police Department Financial Crimes Unit, investigated the Apple Store fraudulent purchases. He also tracked down information that Yambao had come into the Walnut Creek Branch American Express Travel Office, pretended to be another victim and attempted to buy travelers checks with that victim's identification. A clerk was able to positively identify the defendant as the suspect.

On Oct. 13, 2011, several police agencies served a search warrant and Ramey Arrest warrant on Defendant's residence in Concord. Many of the victims' personal identifying information was discovered at the house and on the defendant when she was arrested.

Yambao had a previous 2001 federal conviction for identification fraud and received a 50-month federal prison sentence. In that case, she stole more than $137,000.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LMP
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2012 at 6:36 am

Great police work and great sentencing. I'm especially impressed that the EBRPD would go to such lengths.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Richard
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 25, 2012 at 10:12 am

Why not check to see if she is also one who claims bogus gov assistance? Are her kids on the free breakfast lunch and dinner program? Does she use one of the alternative tax ID numbers to claim $1000 per kid (never needing verification) from the Feds? Congressman Mcnerney is aware of all the fraud but does NoTHING!!!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lynn Jacobs
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2012 at 11:07 am

Mcnerney needs to be ousted. And Buchanan who is in the crotch of the CTA. Voted to protect abusing teachers.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

This news item and thread are about ID theft, not welfare fraud, teachers, Jerry McNerny or Joan Buchanan. Richard and Lynn, do you know the difference?

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rita
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 26, 2012 at 9:15 am

Someone who would enjoy doing ID theft would probably scam the other welfare freebie gimme da goods gov programs. I would add---see if she is ILLEGAL and throw her out after her sentence. Days of coddling trash are ending.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Yolanda Martinez
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 26, 2012 at 9:18 am

I say Richard was pointing out MCNerney KNOWS about scammers and does nothing to help build the dem voting block........I went to his community gathering and saw how his handlers blocked any people who disagreed with his policies. He needs to go ASAP

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