A cross-dressing homeless man has been sentenced to a year in jail, three years probation and an order to enter a mental health program after pleading guilty to stealing a South County woman's identity to receive more
than $100,000 worth of medical care over the past 13 years. Hopefully, the sentence ends the nightmare for the woman who has had to deal with the actions of 51-year-old Perla Aldama Serrano since he stole her identity in 1999.
Serrano not only used the woman's identity to receive emergency-room treatments at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in San Clemente and Mission Hospitals in Laguna Beach and Mission Viejo, but he posed as her when he was cited for misdemeanors over the years. When he later missed his court dates, it forced the woman to go before judges and commissioners to resolve the failure to appear notices against her.
This all unraveled in March, when an Orange
County sheriff's deputy spotted Serrano sleeping next to a building in the
1800 block of north El Camino Real in San Clemente, where the officer told who he believed to be a woman that it is against city ordinances to sleep there.
Serrano once again gave the woman's identity, but the deputy noticed he was wearing a hospital medical bracelet and decided to follow up. The charade was exposed soon after, and Serrano has now pleaded guilty to felony grand theft, second-degree burglary and two counts each of false impersonation and unauthorized use of
personal identifying information.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.