Modesto police made arrests of a Riverbank couple for what they are calling an “elaborate identity theft operation” earlier this month.
The investigation started last December after Jeremy Lapachet, 39, was arrested at Kohl’s Department Store in Modesto for a variety of theft and forgery charges.
During this initial contact, officers located items indicating Lapachet was involved in manufacturing false IDs, manufacturing credit cards, and stealing identities. The case was turned over to detectives who were eventually able to identify numerous victims associated with Lapachet’s operation.
On Feb. 11 detectives served a search warrant on a hotel room Lapachet was living in and at his listed residence in the 2200 Block of Lenay Way in Riverbank. During the searches, investigators found over 100 credit cards and identification cards.
According to a Modesto Police press release, the seized cards were both fraudulent and legitimate. Also located were lists of credit card numbers and computer equipment.
Police stated it appears that Lapachet was using the computer equipment to make fraudulent identifications so others could assume the identities of the victims.
Detectives subsequently issued arrest warrants for Lapachet and his wife, 30-year-old Carol Lapachet.
Police located Carol Lapachet on March 5 and arrested her for identity theft, possession of card making equipment, counterfeit cards and conspiracy. Jeremy Lapachet was found the following day and was arrested for identity theft, manufacturing false identification, forged access card, possession of card making equipment, conspiracy and an unrelated warrant.
In 2007 the pair was arrested for similar charges where Carol eventually pleaded no contest to accepting stolen property and Jeremy pleaded no contest to felony fraud.
Jeremy Lapachet has an extensive criminal history in Stanislaus County with prior arrests for burglary, fraud and narcotics. He remains in custody in Stanislaus County Jail on $100,500 bail. The sheriff’s department information lists his last name as Lapchet.
Modesto Police said that the investigation is ongoing as detectives continue to identify victims associated with this crime.
Law enforcement officials advise that you can reduce your chances of being a victim by taking these steps to protect your identity:
Shred personal documents. Never throw away documents that contain personal information.
Withhold personal information. Treat drivers license and social security numbers as confidential. Avoid giving this information over the phone.
Report lost or stolen cards immediately.
Bring in mail daily.
Create difficult passwords. Do not write down passwords or store them where others have access.
Be suspicious of prizes or awards. If you did not enter a drawing or buy a lottery ticket, you’re probably not the winner of a large sum of money.
Keep track of financial statements.
There are services available to help safeguard your identity. You can also monitor activity through the three credit bureaus; Equifax, Trans Union and Experian.