Man who left dates to pick up the tab faces 16 years behind bars
45-year-old Paul Gonzalez who took out numerous women on dates, ate luxuriously, and then ran away before the bill arrived now faces a grand total of 11 felony counts
Paul Guadalupe Gonzales, who has infamously come to be known as the 'Dine-and-Dash Dater,' has had additional charges filed against him by Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. The 45-year-old was charged with four new felony counts of extortion, while a previous felony count of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of petty theft were dropped.
According to a release by the office, the amended criminal complaint states that Gonzales now faces a grand 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.
The petty theft charge stems from a time when Gonzales cheated two hair salons and walked out after getting his hair colored without paying the establishments. "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," a criminal complaint reads.
The 45-year-old was mainly wanted for a series of events that unfolded between May 2016 and April 2018 where he wined and dined with women he met through dating apps, and then left without paying any of the bills.
Michael Fern, the Deputy District Attorney of the Cyber Crime Division, said that Gonzalez's spree took him to restaurants in several areas of Los Angeles County, including Pasadena, Long Beach, Burbank, and Los Angeles.
On each of the occasions, his modus operandi was almost identical. He would meet them on a dating app such as Bumble, charm them, convince them to meet him for a date, order the most expensive item on the menu, eat voraciously, excuse himself by claiming he had an urgent phone call, and then make his escape from the scene. "It was humiliating," one of his victims revealed. "I was frustrated. It just left me in a bad place," she added, claiming she had to write a check for $218 to cover his splurge.
Officials claim eight women ended up footing the bill for themselves, one doing so in the belief that Gonzalez would pay her back. According to Fox, he defrauded these women of approximately $950 from all his free meals and that, in two of the instances, the restaurant themselves picked up the bills after he abandoned his dates. Both those businesses have been named in the criminal complaint against him.
Gonzalez pleaded not guilty to the new charges at a hearing on Friday, September 7. A preliminary hearing was subsequently scheduled for September 11 at 11 am in Department C of the Los Angeles Superior Court, Pasadena branch and his bail has been set at $315,000.
If convicted as charged, he could face a maximum possible penalty of 16 years and 10 months behind bars. The case is still under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department.