Marlo Lascamana, Roemo Natan, and Joel Lugtu have been charged recently in connection to an alleged credit card and identity theft scam involving a U.S. Postal Service worker. Lascamana and his friends took advantage of their access to residents’ mail to use their credit cards to purchase items of their own, thus stealing their identities in the process. While Lascamana has pled no contest to felony charges, he could face up to three years in the San Mateo county jail. Natan has been charged with commercial burglary, credit card fraud, and identity theft, which could mean he’ll spend more than four years in jail. Lugtu, who also pleaded no contest to the two felony charges he faces will most likely spend less than one year in jail for the crime.
California Penal Code § 459 covers all types of burglary and this particular crime is considered a “wobbler” in the state. A “wobbler” is a type of crime for which sentencing is determined, not only by the crime committed, but also by the accused’s circumstances. If an individual is charged with a wobbler felony like that of Lascamana and his pals, then the:
- Individual circumstances, and
- Criminal history
will have an effect on the length and harshness of the sentence when it is handed down.
Additionally, in cases such as this – identity theft and mail fraud – it is usual for an individual’s criminal defense attorney to file a motion to seek reduction of the charges from felony status. This is allowed by California Penal Code, § 17 and would reclassify the case as such under this rule.