Rohnert Park teen faces 54 charges in fraud case

  • Mohannad Halaweh of Rohnert Park, right and his attorney William H. Du Bois, appear in Sonoma County Superior Court earlier this year in Santa Rosa.(Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Sonoma County prosecutors filed 54 criminal charges against a Rohnert Park man Friday in what they say shows a vast and sophisticated fraud scheme perpetrated against perhaps dozens of victims throughout Northern California over the past seven months.

Mohannad Halaweh, 19, faces up to 18 years in prison after another 46 charges were added Friday in an updated criminal complaint. He previously faced eight charges.

The new charges accuse Halaweh of manufacturing credit cards at his home, using computer software to steal others’ financial identities and living a lavish life of fast cars and luxury rentals homes on the fake credit.

Halaweh was arrested June 4 in Sonoma County while driving an orange $240,000 McLaren sports car he is alleged to have rented with a fake credit card. The sleek luxury car had been reported stolen earlier that day by a South Bay car rental agency.

Since then, police from several Northern California police agencies have combed through Halaweh’s phones and computers, unearthing significant incriminating evidence, prosecutor Scott Jamar said.

In Sonoma County Superior Court, Jamar on Friday presented Judge Dana Simonds with an amended complaint against Halaweh, outlining the new charges.

Halaweh, a former star basketball player at Analy High School, remains jailed on $1 million bail.

His lawyer, William Du Bois of Pleasanton, acknowledged the new filing ramps up the case against his client.

“It’s really a lengthy document,” he said. Previously, he had characterized Halaweh’s behavior as a “youthful indiscretion.”

“It’s a rather substantial indiscretion, beyond a casual indiscretion,” he acknowledged Friday after the addition of nearly four dozen new charges.

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