Prosecutors filed 16 additional felony counts of grand theft today against a man accused of operating a fraudulent immigration services business, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Augusto “Tito” Gonzalez De La Cruz (dob 8/19/60) of Upland now faces 36 felony counts of grand theft, according to the amended complaint in case BA465267. The charges include an allegation of fraud and embezzlement of property valued at more than $100,000.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the new charges today. His bail was increased to $870,000.
A preliminary hearing setting is scheduled for Sept. 13 in Dept. 50 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
Gonzalez De La Cruz initially was accused of scamming 15 victims out of $183,300 by offering immigration services they never received. Another 20 alleged victims were identified with the help of a telephone hotline set up by the Azusa Police Department, which is investigating the case.
The total amount the defendant purportedly stole from January 2006 through February 2018 now comes to $404,000, said Deputy District Attorney Ryann Gerber Jorban of the Consumer Protection Division. Gonzalez De La Cruz allegedly made false promises to his victims that included expediting the processing of visas, resident alien cards and citizenship petitions, the prosecutor said.
He faces up to 25 years in state prison if convicted as charged.
Investigators ask anyone who believes they might have been scammed by Gonzalez De La Cruz to call (626) 812-3227.
Los Angeles District Attorney / case BA465267 / July 10, 2018