It’s not quite Lex Luthor quality diabolical, but a man is being accused of meeting women on dating sites, taking them out to dinner, and then skipping out leaving them with the tab. If you think this is funny, there are a lot of folks who aren’t laughing. One of them is Paul Guadalupe Gonzalez who can face up to 13 years in prison on multiple felony charges. The others, of course, would be his dates who had to pick up the tab after Gonzalez skipped out on them.
Gonzalez faces seven counts of extortion, another two counts of attempted extortion, a count of grand theft, and two misdemeanor counts of defrauding an innkeeper and petty theft.
Investigation Done by the Cybercrimes Division
Gonzalez scoured dating sites throughout a number of South California cities. He would meet women online and offer to take them out to dinner. When it came time to pay the bill, Gonzalez would tell his date that he either needed to use the bathroom or had to retrieve a charger for his phone. But they never returned.
Eight of the women that he defrauded in this manner ended up paying the bill themselves. In two other cases, the restaurant picked up the tab on behalf of the women. Gonzalez is also accused of theft of services from a hair salon.
According to prosecutors, Gonzalez defrauded eight women and two restaurants out of nearly $1,000. While the crime may not seem to have amounted to a lot of money, the charges Gonzalez faces are serious felony charges. If someone keeps track of the ratio of the amount of money stolen to the number of years spent in prison, Paul Guadalupe Gonzalez may set a new record.
Dating Sites Can be Used to Commit a Number of Crimes
You’ve likely heard about serial killers stalking dating sites and Craigslist, but dating sites are a hotbed of a wide variety of crimes. Just recently, a 21-year-old Florida UNF student was indicted on 15 counts of “sextortion” after police set up a sting operation to catch him. The man was gaining access to sensitive and explicit photos of other young men online and then threatening to expose the photographs if they did not perform some sexual act on him.
These and other crimes are becoming much more rampant as the popularity of dating sites grows larger.
Protecting Yourself on Online Dating Sites
Those entering the realm of online dating should know how to protect themselves. The first lesson that can be learned here, is that you should avoid sending explicit photos to someone online. With revenge porn sites and sextortion schemes, it simply isn’t safe.
If you do meet someone out, let a close friend know where you’re going and have an arrangement where you text them at a certain time to let them know you’re safe. This way, if you don’t get ahold of them, they know something is wrong.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re charged with a crime, you have certain rights under the law. One of those rights is to an impartial trial by jury and representation. The Skier Law Firm P.A. assists criminal defendants with cybercrime charges. Give us a call or contact us online to set up an appointment.