Israeli visitor pleads guilty to ID fraud charge

A 29-year-old visitor from Israel pleaded guilty Tuesday to one felony count of identity fraud for posing as an employee of a locksmith company that no longer existed and overcharging an elderly woman on a transaction.

Moshe Mizrachi agreed to a plea deal in exchange for a jail sentence that will not exceed six months for overcharging an 86-year-old San Bruno woman $1,500 to change the lock on her door.

In the June 12 incident, Mizrachi and an unknown accomplice responded to a phone call from the victim, who had locked herself out of her home. The woman, accompanied by the two men, drove to a bank so she could withdraw money. The victim became suspicious of the hefty price and called police, Deputy District Attorney Shin-Mee Chang said.

San Bruno police set up a sting operation and called the two men with a request for lock work; Mizrachi was arrested shortly afterward. Police later learned that Mizrachi claimed to work for the company “A-1 San Bruno Locksmith,” even though the business dissolved in 2006 after the real owner passed away.

Mizrachi’s attorney, Eric Liberman, said Mizrachi’s role in the incident was limited and that he literally flew into San Francisco International Airport on a work visa from Israel, was picked up by the alleged accomplice and was driven to the victim’s house in San Bruno.

“He was in fact present when the lock was changed, but my client said nothing, did nothing and was not the one who quoted her the fee or took the cash from her,” he said.

The alleged accomplice’s name is Idan Finkelstein. Chang said that name may not even exist, and that law enforcement has not been able to identify such a person or locate him. Mizrachi’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26. He remains in custody on $100,000 bail.

bfoley@examiner.com

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