SAN MATEO – Willie Lozano and Phong Le should have tried using their gift cards somewhere else. Lozano, 55, and Le, 32, of San Jose were at a store on East Fourth Avenue in San Mateo using fraudulent gift cards on January 30th. The store owners were suspicious and called the police.
The San Mateo Police Department quickly arrived and officers found the two men in a gray Mercedes parked nearby the store. According to Sgt. Dave Norris of the SMPD, the arrest unearthed an entire web of fraud and drugs: the two men had outstanding arrest warrants, more fraudulent gift cards, evidence of identity theft, and more than 10 pounds of marijuana in the car.
The SMPD began working with the FBI and U. S. Secret Service since it’s “standard practice in cases involving counterfeiting of any commercial items – including gift and credit cards – for SMPD to reach out to commercial counterfeiting experts in Federal Law Enforcement,” said Sgt. Norris.
The joint investigation led to the arrest of a third suspect, Ryan Angeles, 31, who was arrested in San Jose for possession of numerous fake credit cards and ID cards, machinery used to manufacture fake credit cards, and weapons including an assault rifle with a high capacity magazine.
San Mateo narcotics officers also arrested two additional suspects in San Jose: Duy Nguyen, 32, and Thao “Tammy” Nguyen, 25. These two men were booked into the Santa Clara County Jail.
Lozano, Le, and Angeles were booked in the San Mateo County Jail. All three were charged on one count of identity theft and four counts of credit card fraud. In addition, Le was charged with one count of possession of marijuana for sale and two counts of commercial burglary. Le posted bail for $20,000 and Angeles bailed out at $100,000. They were due in court in South San Francisco court on March 7th.
Lozano had the additional charge of one count of driver’s license with intent to commit forgery. Lozano did not post bail and pled not guilty at his court appearance last week. He went back to court on February 7 for a pre-court conference. No agreement could be reached so his felony preliminary hearing is set for February 14th.
Willie Lozano – San Mateo County Jail – 6 charges: one count of identity theft; four counts of credit card fraud; one count of a false driver’s license with intent to commit forgery. Pled not guilty on February 1, 2013. No plea agreement reached. Hearing set for February 14, 2013 in South San Francisco.
Phong Le – posted bail for $20,000 – 8 charges: one count of identity theft; four counts of credit card fraud; one count of possession of marijuana for sale and two counts of commercial burglary. Court date March 7, 2013 in South San Francisco.
Ryan Angeles – posted bail for $100,000 – one count of identity theft; four counts of credit card fraud. Court date March 7, 2013 in South San Francisco.
There are no booking photos currently available. This is an ongoing investigation.
Immediate calls and detailed witness information quickly relayed to SMPD were critical in the success of this case. Please take responsibility if you see something that needs police attention and call us. Often victims of crime are too afraid, ambivalent, or unable to report crimes in progress.
Police ask citizens to ‘help us maintain the safety of our community by being our “eyes and ears”’
- Call 911 for emergencies and crimes-in-progress.
- SMPD non-emergency phone number: 650-522-7700.
Anyone with information on current investigations or ongoing crime trends is encouraged to contact the San Mateo Police Department:
- SMPD Investigations Bureau: 522-7650
- SMPD Secret Witness hotline: 522-7676
- Anonymous Text to SMPD: 262-3473
- Anonymous E-Mail to SMPD: Sanmateo@tipnow.org
Foster City Patch: San Mateo Police Arrest Five in Counterfeiting Operation