Indictment Unsealed in Credit Card Fraud Case

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Superior Court judge unsealed an indictment Wednesday accusing four employees of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and four others of conspiring to commit grand theft by participating in a credit card scam.

Charged were Deputy Jesse Zuniga, 57; and Twin Towers jail custody assistants Christopher Coleman, 34, and Tirrell Thomas, 27, both of Los Angeles, and Meko Goodley, 26, of South Gate.

Also charged were Marcus Coleman, 31, Christopher Coleman's brother; Tiffany Williams, 22; Kimberly Dobard, 30; and Andrea Kizzee, 28.

The eight defendants are scheduled to be arraigned April 2.

Coleman, who was charged in all 23 counts of the indictment, is the only one who remains in custody. His bail was set at $150,000.

The indictment, issued Feb. 28, alleges that Christopher Coleman, Zuniga, Goodley, Dobard and Thomas received credit cards in other people's names and that Coleman and his younger brother, Marcus, used the cards to withdraw cash from ATMs.

The case remains under investigation. The alleged ringleader, Sheriff's Deputy David Osorio, pleaded not guilty last week to four felony charges stemming from a larger credit scheme. Osorio was arrested in September on charges that he used a fraudulent credit card to make purchases at a Bellflower custom wheel store.

Department officials said in interviews in May that Osorio had been part of a complicated credit scheme before joining the department four years earlier, and that, once hired, he recruited other sheriff's employees to operate less sophisticated rings. Coleman, they said, operated the credit card ring from the Twin Towers jail, where he worked as an unsworn employee.

The Sheriff's Department began to investigate Osorio, Coleman and several other employees last year after getting a tip from an informant.

As part of the investigation, 11 Sheriff's Department employees--including the four who were charged--were relieved of duty in May. Most have been assigned to their homes, where they remain on the payroll, awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

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