A 37-year-old San Mateo man is behind bars this week after he was arrested nearly a year after he allegedly fraudulently used the debit and credit cards of an 82-year-old woman he drove home as a Lyft driver last year, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

Mohamad Kamal is facing four years, eight months in state prison on charges of felony elder theft and felony identity theft. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and the county’s private defender program was appointed to his case when he appeared in court Thursday, according to prosecutors.

Kamal is believed to have given a $100 reward from the woman when he returned the credit, debit and Social Security cards she accidentally dropped in his car Feb. 10, 2018, as he was driving her and four friends from a Burlingame restaurant where they had dinner to their home at a San Mateo assisted living residence, according to prosecutors.

The woman was allegedly overjoyed when she offered the reward to Kamal, whom she had requested the ride from the night before through the ride-hailing service Lyft. But when she tried to use her debit card at Trag’s Market some five days later, she found a stop had been put on her cards after her bank detected suspicious activity on them, according to prosecutors.

Kamal allegedly set up a Google Pay account using her credit card information and charged $4,117 in purchases to the cards through April 27, 2018. The victim was able to stop the charges and the San Mateo Police Department conducted an investigation into the incident ending earlier this month when they arrested Kamal, according to prosecutors.

In custody on $100,000 bail, Kamal will next appear in court March 14 for Superior Court review conference and his preliminary hearing is set for March 19, according to prosecutors.

~source