In December 2010, a Seal Beach woman went to a U.S. Bank in Huntington Beach near Golden West College to make a mortgage transaction and discovered $610,359 missing from her accounts.
Two weeks earlier, Zenobia Moore stole the woman's identity and, using a fake California driver's license, withdrew the money from a U.S. Bank near Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley.
With the aid of a co-conspirator, Moore tried to convert her loot into 402 gold coins, but the plot collapsed with Southern California FBI and Homeland Security agents in pursuit.
According to law enforcement records, Moore–a.k.a. Zenobia Garcia-Rertuz–operated a brazen, multi-state identity theft operation beginning in at least 2008 and stole more than $440,000 in additional funds by obtaining numerous victims' personal information such as social security numbers, dates of birth and addresses.
When confronted with U.S. Bank surveillance camera images, Moore confessed, a move that won her reduced punishment from a maximum potential term of 32 years.
Noting the emotional trauma suffered by the victims, Assistant United States Attorney Joseph McNally recommended a term of 45 months in prison plus full restitution.
This week inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney agreed.
(Moore successfully convinced Carney to seal her sentencing argument from public inspection.)
The defendant, who is free on bail, has until noon on Sept. 18 to self-surrender to prison officials.