Arrest and seizure of Identity Theft Laboratory

Ventura County Sheriff – Incident Press Release

On December 10th, 2017, patrol deputies from the Moorpark Sheriff’s Station responded to a call of a possible shoplifting in progress at a local Department Store in the City of Moorpark.  Upon their arrival, deputies spoke with Store Loss Prevention and learned they were monitoring three individuals they suspected were committing identity theft, by using forged or fictitious credit cards.  The three subjects were detained and ultimately arrested by the deputies on outstanding arrest warrants and unrelated drug charges.  All three subjects were booked at the Ventura County Jail.  During their arrest, patrol deputies located and seized evidence from the suspects that suggested they were involved in identity theft.

The case was forwarded to the Moorpark Investigations Bureau, who initiated an investigation. During the course of their investigation, which lasted about four weeks, detectives and investigators uncovered a significant amount of identity theft tied to the suspects.  The type of identity theft that was committed by the suspects was technical and showed a high degree of sophistication.  During their investigation, detectives authored a search warrant for a residence in the neighboring community of Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County.  During the preparation for the search warrant, detectives learned that the Jail Intelligence Unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was investigating the same suspects and was preparing a search warrant for the same residence, as well as a neighboring residence, for an unrelated narcotics investigation. 

As a result, the investigation became a collaborative effort between the LA County Sheriff’s Department and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.  On January 11th, 2018, deputies and investigators from the LA County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant at one of the residences while detectives from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office simultaneously served a search warrant at the neighboring address.  In total, 12 persons were detained between both addresses. 

The search warrant resulted in the arrest of four individuals by investigators from the LA County Sheriff’s Department for narcotics charges and outstanding arrest warrants.  Detectives from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office arrested three individuals for identity theft related charges.    Detectives from Ventura County also obtained a significant amount of evidence to support the furthering of their identity theft investigation, including embossers, skimmers, computers and blank credit cards.  

Ewao Butler of Los Angeles was arrested for several identity theft related charges and is being held at the Ventura County jail in lieu of $50,000.00 bail.  Laura Lyons of Agoura Hills also was arrested for several identity theft related charges and is being held at the Ventura County jail in lieu of $50,000.00 bail.  A third individual was arrested but later released with no charges.    

The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are expected in this case.


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