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Paul Gonzales is facing 10 felony counts for his dine-and-dash antics on numerous dates across Southern California, including seven counts of extortion, two counts of attempted extortion, and one count of grand theft. If convicted on all counts, he could spend 13 years in prison.
Gonzales met these women on various dating apps, and defrauded them, collectively, out of $1,000, using such excuses as "I need to use the bathroom." or "I have to go to the car to get my phone charger." He has pleaded not guilty. Bail was set at $315,000, which seems high given the crime, but odds are high the dine-and-dash dater would jump bail.
Is This Really Extortion?
Dine and dash is traditionally a petty theft crime. Unless, of course, it is an expensive meal. Grand theft usually kicks in around $950. And, according to Gonzales's dates, he did have expensive taste: steaks, lobster tails, and fine wines. However Gonzalez is also being charged with extortion. Extortion, as used in this case, is obtaining property from another through force or fear, and it appears the prosecution intends to prove force. It is unclear at this point how force or fear will be proven. Extortion is normally associated with blackmail. Perhaps this story is about to get a whole lot more interesting, as if that's possible?
Other Famous Dine-And-Dash Stories
Everyone has a story about someone they know that has dined and dashed. But this one takes the cake. At a party to celebrate the baptism of two young children in Spain (you can't make this stuff up!), an estimated 120 restaurant patrons formed a Conga line after consuming their meals, and danced on out the door without paying their $2,110 bill. This group was suspected of pulling off a similar crime the month before, posing as a wedding. The group, suspected of being European gypsies, was never caught.
If you've been charged with a dine-and-dash offense, speak with a local criminal defense attorney, who may be able to get your charges reduced. And next time you're short on cash, just eat at home.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.