Couple Charged in Fraud Scam Targeting Senior Citizen

VENTURA, California – District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today the filing of a 27‑count felony complaint against Michael Allen Stewart (DOB 5/4/84) and Selene Castillo Gonzalez (DOB 3/15/84) both of Bakersfield, California. Stewart and Gonzalez are both charged with 11 counts of theft from an elder, 11 counts of grand theft, and 3 counts of money laundering. Stewart is also charged with felony vandalism and contracting without a license, with a prior conviction for contracting without a license. In addition, both are charged with the aggravated white-collar crime enhancement for stealing more than $100,000. This case was the result of a joint investigation by the Contractors State License Board and the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.

In March 2016, an elder victim hired Stewart to remodel her home in Ventura, believing him to be a licensed contractor. Stewart charged the victim for services and goods not rendered and requested that all payments be made to Gonzalez, who accompanied Stewart to the job site. The victim paid more than $172,000 to Stewart and Gonzalez, who used the money for personal purchases. Stewart’s work rendered the victim’s home uninhabitable. Stewart was previously convicted of contracting without a license in 2014.

Stewart and Gonzalez have pled not guilty to all charges and special allegations. An early disposition conference has been set for November 6, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 12 of the Ventura County Superior Court. Stewart and Gonzalez are currently held in custody at the Ventura County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

 

The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office is the public prosecutor for the county’s 850,000 residents. The office employs approximately 280 employees including attorneys, investigators, victim advocates, and other professional support staff who strive to seek justice, ensure public safety, and protect the rights of crime victims.

Follow the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office on Twitter @VenturaDAOffice


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