San Diego District Attorney banner
More Victims Sought in Foreclosure Scam
Crime Alert: Home Invasions
Immigration Fraud Defendant Re-Arrested
You're Invited!
DA Case Files
gavel photo
San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis called for the public's help this month in locating additional victims in a foreclosure fraud scam that targeted members of the San Diego Filipino Community. Victims were falsely told that "land patents" would protect their properties from foreclosure and as part of the patents they would only have to pay 10 percent of their mortgages each month. "The victims in this case were desperate to save their homes from foreclosure," said DA Dumanis. "They were preyed upon by these con artists, who promised help but instead stole their money." So far six defendants have been charged in connection with the case, including the ringleader Larry Smith. The investigation is still on-going. More than 20 victims have come forward saying they lost thousands of dollars in this real estate scheme. Anyone who believes they may be a victim in this case is asked to call (619) 531-4475.

police car animation
Detectives from the San Diego Police Department and the University of San Diego Police Department are currently investigating five home invasions in the Carmel Valley area that appear to be related. The attacker has primarily been preying on Asian females. In most cases, the suspect threatened victims with a knife and demanded money. Sexual assault, sexual battery, or threat of sexual assault was also reported. Police are offering the following safety tips to protect you and your family:
  • Keep your doors closed and locked when you are at home.
  • When returning home be aware of your surroundings.
  • If you notice a suspicious person loitering near your home, do not go to your house. Drive around the block and make sure the person has gone.
The description of the wanted suspect is a White or Hispanic male in his 20's or 30's, 5'6 to 5'9 with a thin to medium build. Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to call the San Diego Police Department Robbery Unit at (619) 531-2299 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

handcuffs photo
A San Diego woman who was awaiting sentencing for targeting Hispanics in an immigration scheme was re-arrested for committing the exact same crimes. Gladys Escobar, 64 had been charged by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office with three counts of grand theft and pleaded guilty. She was scheduled to be sentenced on March 26th for the crimes, but in the meantime was free on bond. On March 11, Escobar was taken into custody for again scamming approximately $17,000 from undocumented immigrants. Escobar claimed to be a lawyer and filed bogus applications for asylum on behalf of undocumented immigrants and was paid thousands of dollars from victims on the false belief that Escobar had legal authority to keep them in the country. Instead, Escobar initiated a process with U.S. Customs and Immigration Services which led the victims to be deported back to their country of origin. The new charges stem from additional victims who fell prey to the exact same scheme perpetrated by Escobar

citizens of courage logo
A developmentally disabled man who was tortured and then courageously faced his attacker in court is among the six San Diegans set to be honored at an upcoming annual awards luncheon known as "Citizens of Courage 2009." This inspiring event will take place on April 30th from noon to 1:30 PM at the Westin Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter. If you would like to attend, please click here.

parade photo

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis wishes "top of the morning" to the many spectators at the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

FERNANDO ANTONIO SOTO-GUTIERREZ, 32, was sentenced to 180 days in jail plus three years probation for abusing his girlfriend's dog.

RICHARD CALDWELL, 19, was sentenced to five years in state prison for crashing into an SUV with five people on board, killing one. Caldwell was under the influence of alcohol with a .12 percent blood-alcohol level at the time.

JAMES DeSANTO, 37, was sentenced to 15 years-to-life in state prison for molesting a 12-year-old girl in Ocean Beach in 2005.

ANTHONY TORIAN, 23, was sentenced to 14 years in state prison for taking part in the retaliation murders of two young men in 2006.

FRANCISCO MONTOYA, 47, was sentenced to two years in state prison for assaulting an Australian tourist with a skateboard in Ocean Beach last year.
On The Record
April 2009

Quick Links
Join the DA on
Facebook logo