CANYON COUNTRY – A former handyman for a Valencia auto dealership was arrested this week after a six-month investigation by sheriff’s deputies revealed he was deeply involved in identity theft, a sheriff’s official said Thursday. James Johnson, 41, is suspected of taking blank-check stock from Lexus of Valencia and writing checks to himself and to former customers. “He somehow had access to rental and purchase agreement paperwork and got the names of people who had done business there,” sheriff’s Sgt. James Anderson said. “Our investigators found that he had applied for and obtained credit cards in another resident’s name, including an interim driver’s license, which he was using.” Anderson said that Detective Doug Nail had information that Johnson was using a storage unit on Oak Avenue in Canyon Country. During surveillance, Nail found Johnson at a storage unit he had rented. He had a car rented to his primary victim, Anderson said. Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “When he was contacted, Johnson identified himself to our detective as that person, but (Nail) knew what his real name was and arrested him on the spot,” Anderson said. A warrant to search the storage unit and a hotel room Johnson rented in the San Fernando Valley yielded tools purchased with the fraudulently-obtained credit cards and identity profiles for at least 80 different people, Anderson said. The District Attorney’s Office high tech unit is reviewing the case. Johnson was booked at the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s station and remains in custody at Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles. His bail is listed as $150,000. “Before he can make bail, he has to have bail hearing,” Anderson said. “Because of the nature of his crime, he has to prove to the court that all the proceeds for his bail were obtained legally.” Anderson said that detectives are in the process of contacting the individuals named in the documentation found at Johnson’s two locations to advise them that they may be victims of identity theft.
Six-month ID theft probe leads to man