A Penngrove man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for multiple counts of fraud and identity theft.

Christopher Matheson, 37, a parolee who absconded from state supervision, was sentenced this week in connection with a case that yielded 100 counterfeit credit cards in his home in various stages of completion, along with stolen mail, stolen Social Security cards, birth certificates and credit reports.

“Identity theft is a serious problem in our community. This was a sophisticated operation that put many people’s financial security at risk,” Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said in a prepared statement Friday.

Matheson pleaded guilty last month to seven felonies and admitted a prior prison conviction.

He was arrested in 2011 after law enforcement officers received a tip that the parolee at large was living in Penngrove. He gave a false name and had a forged driver’s license and multiple counterfeit credit cards at the time of his arrest, according to officials. In the trunk of his car, Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies discovered a credit card embossing machine, a computer, a credit card scanning device and other counterfeiting equipment.

Deputies also located numerous items used to produce counterfeit cards and driver’s licenses, including blank card stock, credit card stickers and symbols, templates, and State of California seals used in making driver’s licenses.

The case also was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, which has jurisdiction over counterfeiting crimes.

“We sought, and the court imposed, a significant sentence that will hold the defendant accountable and serve as a warning to others who might consider similar conduct,” Ravitch said.


What: A festival for SMART’s first year of operation will feature live music, food trucks and more than 30 booths. The train will also be free to passengers all weekend.

Benefit: Sales of beer and wine at the party will go to Becoming Independent, a Santa Rosa nonprofit that assists people with disabilities.

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Hamilton Station, Novato