A Los Angeles woman accused of being the ringleader of a scam that stole thousands of dollars from women in the Santa Clarita Valley pleaded guilty to one count of identity theft Monday.
Valerie Lynne Ray, 54, of Los Angeles, was sentenced to three years in a Los Angeles County jail, according to court officials.
She was being held on charges related to three local incidents.
Detectives believe Ray is the person who physically stole the wallets, and Pilar Abalos, 43, of Poway, stands accused of using her likeness to commit identity fraud and steal large amounts of money.
Deputies with the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office also are charging Abalos with two counts of identity theft, one count of credit card fraud and one count of commercial burglary.
Ray is due back in court June 13 for a restitution hearing. Abalos is due in court on May 1 in San Fernando.
Ray was being charged with six counts in connection with a crime ring that believed to have stolen from Crescenta Valley, Ventura County and local residents, according to Deputy Josh Dubin of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
Judge Mark O’Gara sentenced Ray. Her restitution hearing will be at Los Angeles Superior Court in San Fernando.
Abalos, who is accused of crimes in the are thought to have extended to Ventura and Los Angeles counties, was arrested in San Fernando by Ventura County officials after she pleaded not guilty to two counts of identity theft and six counts second degree commercial burglary, according to court records.
Abalos is suspected of being involved in an ID theft ring whereby wallets of victims — whose appearance is similar to Abalos — are stolen, and then Abalos allegedly used her likeness to steal more from the victims.
“We have a case on her in Ventura County,” said Sgt. Alan Hartkop, “and there are some other charges, but I don’t know exactly how many counts.”
On Feb. 5, deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station arrested Ray.