In all his years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Det. Danny Gore had never seen a case like this.
When he and investigators with the Lancaster station began looking into Cathryn Parker, also known as “Katherine Gonsalves” and “Jan,” they opened up a virtual Pandora’s box of identity theft, he said.
Over the last five years, Parker, 72, has been living under at least 74 aliases and has stolen seven people’s identities, Gore said.
“Usually I don’t see that many [aliases]. It’s just been kind of never-ending,” Gore said Friday.
Parker lived in the Hollywood area and targeted people who worked in the industry, not actresses, but grips and other production staff members who could get on a film set, Gore said. Whether she ever got on a set with an alias was unknown, Gore said.
She also allegedly paid utilities under false names and acquired credit cards with other people’s financial information. She was arrested the night of March 18 when a sheriff’s deputy pulled her over for an unspecified traffic violation. Parker gave the deputy a false name and was arrested, Gore said.
When detectives found out where she lived, they learned she was using a fake name there, too, he said.
“It’s like a way of life. I don’t know that there was an end,” Gore said of Parker. “You have to be dedicated. You and I go to work in the morning and spend eight, 10 or 12 hours. I guess if you’re in the identity theft business and it's your job, in a sense she went to work.”
As of Friday, Parker was in federal custody in Northern California, where she was wanted for probation violations. Records show she was convicted in 2000 for federal mail fraud in Hawaii after she used the Jenny Craig Corp.’s corporate travel account to purchase plane tickets and then sold the tickets privately for $500 apiece.
Parker has repeatedly violated the terms of her release since then and was wanted by the U.S. Marshals, records show. After she serves time in Northern California, she’ll be sent down to Los Angeles County to answer for the alleged identity thefts, said Deputy U.S. Marshal Laura Vega.
Until that time, Gore and Lancaster investigators are looking for more of Parker’s alleged victims, he said.
“I can tell you by what we recovered in [her] residence, it was very apparent there was fraud occurring,” Gore said. “I’ve been a cop for 20 years ... and this is the first case where I’ve had this many aliases. I’ll tell you, this has been a learning lesson.”
Though the current victims only date back to 2012, Gore said he believes there could be incidents going back to 2010.
Anyone who may have information about the case, or may be a victim, is asked to contact Gore at (661) 940-3851.
For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.