RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A California man pleaded guilty this week to fraud and stealing the identity of a Richmond business owner for over a year.
According to court documents, around January 2022, 30-year-old Daniel Cruz of Los Angeles obtained personal information for the owner of the Richmond auto shop Lotsey & Hardy Tire Company. He then used that information to take over the owner’s accounting software, bank account, email address and phone numbers.
For just over a year, Cruz re-routed calls placed to the auto shop to his own phone, transferred money from the owner and the shop into his personal bank account and took out loans in the owner’s name. He also ordered and picked up auto parts in Los Angeles — oftentimes by impersonating the shop’s owner — and then billed the parts to Lotsey & Hardy.
By February 2023, the loss to the owner and Lotsey & Hardy totaled at least $34,514.87.
Cruz now faces a minimum two years in prison for aggravated identity theft and up to 20 years for wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 31.