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Former Florida Dealer Pleads Guilty to Identity-Theft Charges

November 18, 2008

MIAMI — The former sales manager of a South Florida car dealership and an associate have pled guilty to stealing the identities of at least 75 car buyers. Dayton Diaz, 26, of Miramar, Fla., and Kearn Matthew, 26, of Lauderhill, Fla., pled guilty on Nov. 10 to conspiring to commit mail fraud. Matthew also pled guilty to a substantive count of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to the criminal indictment and court documents, Diaz's position allowed him access to customer data, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers and dates of birth. Diaz collected and sold the data to Matthew and several other co-conspirators, who used it to obtain lines of credit in the customers' names.

Matthew and his associates used the lines of credit to buy computers from online retailers. The computers were shipped to the customers' homes but intercepted by the conspirators upon delivery. More than $600,000 worth of purchases was made before the scheme was uncovered by a joint task force involving officers from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Secret Service and the FBI.

Both defendants are scheduled to appear before the Honorable William J. Zloch for sentencing on Jan. 6. Diaz faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, while Matthew faces a maximum term of 60 years.

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