SANTA ANA (CBS) — A 51-year-old transient male cross-dresser was sentenced to one year in jail on Monday for his guilty plea Monday to stealing a woman’s identity and ringing up more than $100,000 in medical costs.

Perla Aldama Serrano was also placed on three years probation and ordered to participate in the “Whatever It Takes” program, which aims to rehabilitate defendants with mental illness and substance dependence issues, according to court records.

Serrano was arrested in March when a deputy on patrol saw someone sleeping in a grassy area next to a building in the 1800 block of north El Camino Real in San Clemente, according to Jim Amormino of the Orange County sheriff’s department.

The deputy told Serrano that it was against city ordinances to sleep outside in the area, Amormino said, adding the deputy initially thought he was a woman because he was wearing women’s clothes.

Serrano gave the deputy the name of a South Orange County woman whose identity was stolen 13 years ago, Amormino said.

The deputy saw Serrano wearing a medical bracelet from San Clemente Hospital and called the hospital.

That led investigators to discover he had been using the victim’s name to obtain medical services over the years, Amormino said.

The victim has gone to court several times to straighten out arrest warrants issued in her name for misdemeanor legal infractions committed by Serrano for which he failed to show up in court, Amormino said.

Investigators in March figured Serrano obtained more than $100,000 in medical services over the years, Amormino said.

Serrano pleaded guilty to two counts each of unauthorized use of personal identifying information and false personation, as well as single counts of second-degree burglary and grand theft, all felonies, according to
court records.

A message left with Serrano’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Rick Vallejo, was not immediately returned.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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