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California man pleads not guilty to 33 fraud and theft charges

During a preliminary hearing in a Van Nuys courtroom, a 37-year-old man entered not guilty pleas for all 33 charges against him for fraud and theft. He had already decided against a plea deal that limited his sentence in state prison to no more than seven years.

Seven witnesses so far entered testimony against him at the hearing, and more have been scheduled to speak in court in the near future before a judge will make the decision about whether or not he will stand trial. Testimony from a Lyft driver and dental office manager styled the man as a persuasive con artist who convinced them to cash his checks due to problems at his bank.

Other witnesses alleged that the man stole their blank checks and credit card numbers after asking them over to his apartment during dates. A detective from the Los Angeles Police Department claimed that 60 women have informed authorities about the man’s illegal activities. Law enforcement officers allege that he targets professional women with disposable incomes. His defense attorney raised doubts about the credibility of his former dates by suggesting that they were mad at him for personal reasons.

As this case illustrates, a defense attorney might cast doubt on conclusions reached by law enforcement. A person threatened by imprisonment and fines due to accusations of theft could seek advice from an attorney before making statements in court. The efforts of an attorney might make it possible for someone to obtain release while awaiting a trial date or the outcome plea deal discussions. An attorney may improve the person’s legal position by challenging weak evidence or proposing a plea deal for reduced charges that carry relatively light penalties.

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.