BLOOMINGTON, Calif. – A transient male was arrested for swindling thousands of dollars from Hispanic clients, mostly those who were not legal residents of the United States.
Fontana Sheriff’s officials began an extensive investigation into suspected theft by fraud in October 2018. The fraud was being committed by the owner of a local business in the 17000 block of Valley Boulevard in the City of Bloomington. The owner of a local tax service reported that he had rented office space to Pedro Cerranza, 44, also known as Pedro Casique. Cerranza rented the space to conduct paralegal work, tax preparation, immigration, and naturalization document preparation, as well as other legal recordings.
In order to do so, the suspect falsified paralegal and notary public status. Using his falsified status, he obtained substantial retainers from dozens of people who were residing in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Most of the clients paid approximately $2500 each for services, Pedro Cerranza never provided. “After the suspect received these retainers, he fled the area to start a new business front,” Sheriff’s officials said. “The suspect failed to provide services under the guise his clients would not report these incidents to law enforcement due to their immigration status.”
The suspect was identified by authorities who learned he travels throughout multiple cities in Southern California. On June 6, 2019, investigators located Carranza in Lake Elsinore where he was running the same business scheme. A search warrant was obtained and executed at the home where Carranza was staying. Carranza was taken into custody. During the search of his vehicle, investigators located numerous Mexican Identification cards, visas, and other vital government documents.
Carranza was booked at the West Valley Detention Center for Theft by Fraud and his bail was set at $100,000. Detectives believe there are more victims from San Bernardino and Riverside Counties who are 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 you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.
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