A Chino Hills couple has been arrested and charged in a “wide-ranging” mail fraud scheme in which they allegedly used a Santa Monica rented mail box to receive payments from victims around the country, a Santa Monica city attorney spokesman said.
Maciej Noworyta and Brenda Chaidezdiaz were arrested at their Chino Hills home Friday, December 2nd, and taken to Los Angeles County Jail. They were released on $200,000 combined bail last week.
As conditions of their bail, Noworyta and Chaidezdiaz had to surrender their passports, were ordered to remain in Southern California and were prohibited from selling their real estate or motor vehicles.
The Santa Monica city attorney has filed a 30-count criminal complaint against Noworyta and Chaidezdiaz charging conspiracy, grand theft and false advertising.
The complaint is based on more than 1,200 victims who paid $20 each to sign up for work stuffing envelopes at home, Santa Monica deputy city attorney Adam Radinsky said.
Noworyta and Chaidezdiaz are charged with sending out false advertising to induce victims to send $20, and then providing nothing at all or, at most “worthless” documents, city attorney’s office officials said.
The couple allegedly used a mailbox at a UPS store on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica to receive payments.
The pair allegedly operated under a number of different names, including Mayflower Publishing, Executive Publications, Ad-Ventures International and Tri-Star Publishing.
City attorney officials and federal investigators are continuing to search for additional victims who may have made payments over the past year.
“Consumers should always be wary of so-called employment offers that require them to pay any money,” Radinsky said. “If you’re working for them, they should only be paying you.
“If they contact you, and not the other way around, be very careful.”
A pretrial conference is scheduled for Thursday, January 26th, at the county Superior Court Airport Courthouse. No trial date has been set.
If convicted, Noworyta and Chaidezdiaz could face up to one year in jail and $2,700 in fines for each of 14 grand theft counts; up to six months in jail and $6,500 in fines for each of 14 false advertising counts and; up to one year in jail and $27,000 in fines for each of two conspiracy counts, city attorney officials said.