COUNTYWIDE : 2 Plead Not Guilty in Computer Credit Scam

Two men charged with stealing more than $800,000 in computer parts in an alleged credit scam have pleaded not guilty, authorities said Tuesday.

Corey Leigh Hooper of Mission Viejo and Mohammed Salim Husein Jaffer of Walnut were arrested last week by Anaheim police and are being held in Orange County Jail on $500,000 bail each.

The criminal complaint alleges the defendants created at least seven "shell" businesses to buy the computer parts on credit from wholesale supply houses across the country, Deputy Dist. Atty. Doug Brannan said.

Once they received the computer products, they would sell them to someone else, in some instances shipping the goods to Germany, Brannan said.

The alleged scheme hinged on phony credit references, which the defendants established using a private mailbox and an answering machine, the prosecutor said. Then, before the "shell" company could be recognized as a sham, they would abandon that company and create another, he said.

Brannan said investigators, who followed a trail of bad checks dating back to 1993, identified seven business names from Anaheim, Orange and Fullerton used in the alleged scam: Portable Solutions Inc.; PSI Inc.; STG Inc. (also known as Saber Technology Group); Coates ASI Corp.; Panatronic Inc.; Hooper Software, and STG Environmental Art.

Anyone who believes they may have been defrauded by one of the businesses is urged to contact Anaheim Police Detective Mel Vyborney at (714) 254-1954.

Hooper and Jaffer are charged with 29 felony counts of conspiracy to commit grand theft, grand theft and attempted grand theft. They were arraigned Monday in Fullerton before Municipal Judge Richard E. Behn, who ordered them to return for a Nov. 16 preliminary hearing.

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