SANTA ROSA - On September 12, 2017, business owners Christopher Miranda and Pamela Malfa each plead no contest to multiple counts of grand theft stemming from an investigation into the operation of their business, West Coast Auto Craft, located in Windsor in Sonoma County.
Miranda plead no contest to 13 counts of grand theft and one count of identity theft and will be sentenced to state prison for a stipulated term of 15 years, 3 months. Malfa pled no contest to 12 counts of grand theft and will be sentenced to 180 days county jail and will be thereafter placed on formal probation for a period of 5 years.
West Coast Auto Craft specialized in the restoration and repair of classic cars. Over the course of several years, business owners Miranda and Malfa took hundreds of thousands of dollars from customers to restore cars. The work on the cars was consistently never finished. Miranda would continue to hold onto the cars, claiming they needed additional work, and then charge customers more money. During the investigation, investigators discovered that in one instance Miranda changed the VIN on a customer’s $90,000 Camero, and then sold it to an innocent buyer. At the time of the arrest, officers located more than 30 classic cars in a field in Cloverdale that were entrusted to Miranda and Malfa to restore. The vehicles had little to no work done on them. Some of the cars were in worse condition than when brought in due to weather exposure and improper storage. Each of the cars has since been returned to its owner. Miranda and Malfa owe approximately $750,000 in restitution to their victims.
Malfa is scheduled to be sentenced on November 14th, and Miranda on November 21st.
“Classic cars are not only a passion and hobby to some people, they can be worth a lot of money and can be an investment,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “I applaud the investigators and enforcement and program representatives who worked together to seek justice for the victims.”
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Emily Malfatti, and was investigated by District Attorney Investigator Lisa Chapman. The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force, and Windsor Police Department assisted in the investigation.