Two people, a man and a woman, are being sought by police after having allegedly scammed an 80-year-old woman out of $4,000 after selling her a fake gold bar.
The initial incident occurred on October 10th of 2019 on Firestone Boulevard. According to reports, the two suspects walked into a Target store and convinced an old woman they were giving her a good deal on a gold bar. The suspects said they were unable to sell the bar themselves due to their immigration status and were trying to offload it. Believing the two, the victim drove to a nearby bank to pull out $4,000 and gave it to the suspects.
Investigators say that the first suspect is a Hispanic woman in her 50s, about 5 feet tall and weighing 215lbs. The second suspect is a Hispanic man in his early 60s and is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 180lbs. Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call investigators at 562-466-5431.
California Penal Code 532 PC, the state’s theft by false pretenses law, makes it illegal in the State of California to lie to someone in order to get them to give you something of value. To be charged with the crime, you need to knowingly and intentionally deceive someone (make them believe something that isn’t true) by saying or showing them something that was actually false. For example, if the two suspects told the victim that the gold bar was real because they actually believed that it was, they would likely not be eligible for charges under PC 532 because they did not specifically intend to deceive the victim.
When the property that was stolen is worth less than $950 and isn’t a car, firearm, livestock, or certain plants, PC 532 is charged as petty theft, punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, if the property is worth more than $950, or is a car or a firearm, then theft by false pretenses becomes a form of grand theft that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. When charged as a misdemeanor the penalties include up to 1 year in county jail. However, if it’s charged as a felony, the penalties include 16 months to 3 years in California state prison.