A 44-year-old transient was arrested for allegedly preying on immigrants in a major case involving theft by fraud, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
After an extensive investigation, authorities arrested Pedro Carranza, who was paid thousands of dollars by people who never received the services he promised them, authorities alleged.
In October of last year, investigators from the Fontana Sheriff’s Station began to look into the case involving a business in the 17000 block of Valley Boulevard in Bloomington.
A business owner from a local tax service reported a man had rented office space to conduct paralegal work, tax preparation, immigration and naturalization document preparation, and other legal recordings, specifically for Hispanic clients. The suspect falsified his paralegal and notary public status.
Also, the suspect falsely obtained substantial retainers from dozens of people in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, in which they paid in excess of $2,500 each for services they never received. After the suspect received these retainers, he fled the area to start a new business “front.” The suspect believed his clients would not report these incidents to law enforcement due to their immigration status.
Investigators identified the suspect as Pedro Carranza, aka Pedro Casique, who is transient in multiple Southern California cities.
On June 6, utilizing advanced investigative techniques, investigators located Carranza in Lake Elsinore, where he was allegedly committing the same acts.
The following day, investigators executed a search and arrest warrant at a residence where he was staying and took Carranza into custody. During the search of Carranza's vehicle, investigators located numerous Mexican identification cards, visas, and other vital government documents.
Carranza was booked at West Valley Detention Center for theft by fraud and his bail was set at $100,000.
Detectives believe there are more people from San Bernardino and Riverside counties who are alleged victims of Carranza, under a fictitious business name of Wise Paralegal. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Fontana Sheriff’s Station, Detective Kathy Oros, at (909) 356-6727. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or leave information on the We-Tip website at www.wetip.com.