“Dine-And-Dash Dater” Hit With New Extortion Charges

download-4We previously discussed Paul Guadalupe Gonzales, 45, the so-called  “dine-and-dash dater” who would allegedly order expensive meals on first dates and then stiff the dates with the bill by disappearing.  Now, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has announced four new charges of extortion that will threaten Gonzales with almost two decades in prison for his bizarre career as a criminal cad.  The piling of charges seems to reflect the public anger more than the crimes. We are all disgusted by these accounts but almost a dozen counts of extortion seems a bit excessive.

Gonzales allegedly carried out his scheme with women he found in Pasadena, Long Beach, Burbank and Los Angeles from May 2016 through April 2018.  One woman described to The Washington Post how Gonzales ordered “a chicken dish and four lobster tails,” in addition to “expensive wine and then a soufflé for dessert.”

He is also suspected of being the”dye-and-dasher” who would run out on hair salons.

In adding the four extortion counts, prosecutors dropped one felony count of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of petty theft.  He now faces a total of 11 felony counts of extortion, two felony counts of attempted extortion, two misdemeanor counts of defrauding an innkeeper by non-payment and one misdemeanor count of petty theft.

Bail was set high at $315,000 and Gonzales faces a possible maximum penalty of 16 years and 10 months in state prison.

The pile on with charges reflects an obvious ploy by the prosecution to force a plea.  The extortion charges are a surprise over more obvious charges like fraud.

Under Penal Code 518 PC, the extortion occurs when a person “uses force or threats to compel another person to give you money or other property.”  The prosecutors are pursuing a novel claim that “In short, the defendant’s wrongful conduct induced innocent third parties to pay for his meal, using the implied threat of public humiliation or being viewed as an accomplice.”

Any implied humiliation is not the strongest basis for conviction.  It also raises highly individualistic responses to such conduct. Many women would not view this is humiliating as much as maddening.  Moreover, as raised in our earlier poll, there remains some division over the expectations on who will pay for dinner on such dates, though over 60 percent still believe that the man should pay for the meal.


16 thoughts on ““Dine-And-Dash Dater” Hit With New Extortion Charges”

  1. The charges are clearly excessive. Plus I don’t believe the extortion charge meets the legislative intent. Defrauding an innkeeper on the meals and theft of services on the haircuts would be appropriate.

  2. It’s absurd. Defrauding the woman or theft of services are proper charges for this sort of thing.

    1. DSS – to defraud the woman the woman would have to admit she expected a free meal. For theft of services, that would be unintended because the business would have to pick up the tab and then it would be at wholesale not retail. If the business just charged the date for her own meal there is no fraud. At least IMHO.

  3. The pile on with charges reflects an obvious ploy by the prosecution to force a plea. The extortion charges are a surprise over more obvious charges like fraud.

    Of course, Turley never asks why the rules of criminal procedure allow this sort of prosecutorial abuse, or why judges sleep through it, or why grand juries do not employ independent counsels.

  4. Like JT, I do not get the extortion charges. Are there any unsolved murders laying around they want to charge him with? I think he goes for a jury trial, asks (nigh demands all women on the jury would be prejudiced) gets an all male jury and is off scot free. Or at least gets a 11-1 (for acquital) hung jury.

  5. I don’t agree with the prosecution that these alleged acts constitute extortion. While I recognize there can be articulated a fear in the mind of the victim for fear of social repercussions unless they relented to the extortionate demand, in this case I do not believe it rises to a sufficiently compelling threshold in the mind of a reasonable person.

    I suspect it is more likely the profile and publicity of this case caused the prosecutor to go to an extreme to “throw the book” at the defendant.

    1. I agree that the extortion charge is not warranted. Perhaps running out on a haircut would be petty theft, but he shouldn’t get 20 years for it.

      I do believe the male should pay for the meal as part of the courtship rituals still inherent in a date. Otherwise, it’s just two people hooking up.

      I don’t think dashing out on a date should be a crime. What comes around, goes around, and guys can claim that a woman who runs out on him had promised to pay for dinner. What about if a guy forgets his wallet? (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) What if no one brought him his wallet and he couldn’t pay for all those Cokes?

      This is an example of something that is morally wrong, but should not be criminally wrong. Slippery slope, and there are certainly guys who want women to take care of everything for them, including the bill. That could be his defense, that it’s sexist to assume that a woman needs or expects a guy to pay for dinner. He was just respecting them as equals by leaving them the responsibility of the bill. Did she ask in advance, witnessed and notarized, if he planned to pay for their date?

      There are plenty of cads in the world. It’s one of the perils of blind dates or dating apps. You have absolutely no idea who these guys really are. At least he wasn’t a Ted Bundy.

  6. Now compare that to the Bankruptcy king, Trump: stiffs contractors, doesn’t pay bills, screws banks, and on and on. Perhaps Trump can lend his cohort a lawyer or two, or three. It’s not the people who are big, just the crimes.

    1. What kind of prescription regime are you on for your chronic TDS? Whatever you’re taking, it’s NOT WORKING, ISAAC.

      1. Jones

        It has something to do with not doing anything in the face of a crime, infamy, disaster, Trump; that’s the prescription-making it known until it is rectified.

    2. What you say may be true Isaac, but Trump was never accused of dining and dashing.
      He wasn’t known to be a cheapstake on “dates”….he even threw in sizeable bonus/ hush money long after some alleged “dates”. 😉😄

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