Robert Joaquin Luz Preciado, left, and Jhona Marie Mathews, right, are scheduled for sentencing June 23.
Robert Joaquin Luz Preciado, left, was sentenced to two years in prison June 23. His codefendant, Jhona Marie Mathews, right, was sentenced to two years of felony probation on July 11.

Update, July 12 Jhona Marie Mathews, 42, was sentenced to two years of felony probation Tuesday, bringing to a close a case that involved two defendants and allegations of an ill-gotten luxury car, identity theft, methamphetamine and an illegal firearm.

Among other conditions, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kimberly E. Colwell ordered Tuesday that while on probation, Mathews must not possess any checks, credit cards or similar items in any names other than her own. Mathews also must stay 100 yards away from any victims named in the case against her, and may have to pay restitution, although no amount was enumerated.

Mathews is still facing charges in Marin County, where San Rafael police say she bought a $99,000 Infiniti with someone else’s identity, similar to what she was initially accused of doing in Berkeley, albeit with a Mercedes. She was scheduled to appear in Marin County Superior Court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing. She declined to comment Tuesday.

Original story, June 23 A South Bay man is headed to state prison for two years for his role in a scheme in which police say he and a co-conspirator took out car loans in unwitting victims’ names to buy cars for themselves.

Judge Thomas J. Nixon sentenced 26-year-old Robert Joaquin Luz Preciado to two two-year sentences, one each for single counts of drug possession with a firearm and fraudulent possession of personal identifying information, to be served concurrently.

Preciado was arrested May 11 at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland, where he was scheduled to appear in other outstanding criminal cases. Those charges were dismissed Friday as a part of his plea agreement in his Berkeley arrest.

The car he and 42-year-old Jhona Marie Mathews had driven to the courthouse that day had methamphetamine and a ghost gun inside, according to a declaration of probable cause from Berkeley police.

Berkeley police had sought Mathews and Preciado after a victim told them someone had fraudulently bought a $77,000 Mercedes from a Pleasant Hill Carmax, that the purchase had shown up on her credit report and that she had begun receiving FasTrak violation notices on the car.

Preciado was previously convicted of burglary in San Francisco, fraudulent possession of personal information in San Mateo and a previous instance of identity theft in Alameda County from a 2016 incident in which he was accused of checking into an Emeryville hotel through a fraudulent credit card transaction with a fake license, according to court records.

He had also been charged in Alameda County with a rash of thefts at an Emeryville apartment building mailroom. Those charges were dismissed Friday.

Mathews has also pleaded no contest to one count each of drug possession with a firearm and fraudulent possession of personal identifying information. She was scheduled for sentencing Friday but that hearing was postponed until July 7.

Mathews is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in a case in Marin County, in which she is charged with fraudulently purchasing a $99,000 Infiniti, on July 12.

The Alameda County Public Defender’s office, which represented Preciado, declined to comment.

It is unclear what became of the cars Mathews and Preciado were suspected of fraudulently purchasing.

Alex N. Gecan joined Berkeleyside in 2023 as a senior reporter covering public safety. He has covered criminal justice, courts and breaking and local news for The Middletown Press, Stamford Advocate and...