Santa Rosa, CA – November 21, 2017 – Defendant Christopher John Miranda, 43 years-old of Windsor, who pled no contest to 14 counts of felony grand theft and identify theft in September, was sentenced today by the Honorable Robert Laforge to 15 years, and 4 months in state prison. Restitution is expected to total approximately $850,000.
During the course of the original investigation, law enforcement also discovered that Miranda had also made intentional misrepresentations on a welfare application, and had received excess payments of over ten thousand dollars. Miranda was thereafter charged with welfare fraud. He pled no contest to that charge today, and as a result will serve an additional 3 year concurrent prison term.
Miranda’s co-defendant, Pamela Malfa, his wife, was sentenced on November 14, 2017 to five years of formal probation, 180 days of jail, and ordered to pay restitution.
District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This was an extensive investigation by our office that uncovered dozens of victims. Although we have been able to return over 40 vehicles to their owners, the financial harm caused by this defendant in the community is significant. We are pleased that the court imposed the negotiated prison sentence today.”
Miranda and Malfa owned and operated West Coast Auto Craft; an auto repair business that specialized in the restoration and repair of classic cars. Over the course of 3-10 years Miranda and Malfa took tens of thousands of dollars from customers to restore their cars. The cars were never finished. Miranda continued to hold onto the cars claiming they needed additional work, and charged customers more money for work never done. At the time of the arrest, officers located over 30 classic cars in a field in Cloverdale that had little to no work done to them. Some of the cars were in worse condition than when brought in due to weather exposure and improper storage. The cars have since been returned to the owners.
The case was handled by Deputy District Attorney Emily Malfatti, and District Attorney Investigator Lisa Chapman. The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force, and Windsor Police Department assisted in the investigation.