Ventura County Sheriff – Incident Press Release
A suspect who used the identity belonging to another individual fraudulently purchased vehicles from auto dealers in Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles County.
On May 4, 2020, patrol deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Thousand Oaks Police Station responded to Silver Star Chevrolet in Thousand Oaks upon a report of a fraudulent vehicle purchase in progress. Deputies arrived at the dealership and contacted the suspect, Justin Cornett. During the preliminary investigation, the deputy learned Cornett had completed an online credit application for the purchase of a used Mercedes Benz, valued at $21,000.00, using a victim’s personal identifying information.
While at the dealership, Cornett initiated the purchase using the victim’s information. Cornett attempted to complete the purchase utilizing the credit application information, which included the victim’s address, social security number and date of birth.
Patrol deputies subsequently arrested Cornett. The deputies determined Cornett had arrived at the dealership in a Range Rover sport utility vehicle. Financial Crimes Detectives from the Thousand Oaks Police Department were contacted to assist with the investigation.
During a follow-up investigation, Financial Crimes Detectives determined Cornett had recently purchased the Range Rover from a used auto dealer in Hermosa Beach, California. The vehicle was a 2016 Range Rover valued at $40,000.
During the investigation, detectives determined Cornett purchased and financed the Range Rover utilizing the same victim’s information. Once detectives determined the Range Rover was fraudulently purchased, the vehicle was seized as evidence.
The Range Rover was returned to the used car dealership in Hermosa Beach and the associated identity theft investigation was referred to the Hermosa Beach Police Department.
Cornett was booked into custody at the Ventura County Main Jail for charges of burglary, looting during a state or local emergency, identity theft, and possession of a controlled substance. Due to the looting charge, Cornett was booked and his bail was set at $50,000. Cornett was ultimately released after posting $50,000 bail.
With the continued advances in technology, the opportunity and sophistication of criminals to manufacture and counterfeit financial instruments and bank cards has increased significantly.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office recommends taking extra precautions to ensure any forms of payment for goods and services are validated at the time of transaction.
The Sheriff’s Office would also like to remind the public of some of the following tips:
- The Social Security Administration will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash or put money on gift cards.
- You do not have to verify your social security number to anyone who initiates a call with you.
- Never give any part of your social security number, bank account information or credit card number to anyone who contacts you.