snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Non-UL Chat > Police Blotter

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 20 January 2019, 05:50 AM
E. Q. Taft's Avatar
E. Q. Taft E. Q. Taft is offline
 
Join Date: 30 July 2003
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 14,390
Police Here’s How LA’s Infamous Dine-and-Dash Dater Actually Got Caught

he escapades of Los Angeles’s notorious, felonious dine-and-dash dater are well documented. Since 2016, Paul Gonzales found women on dating apps, set up dates at restaurants, then abandoned his victims while leaving them with the bill. After being convicted of the crimes in November, Gonzales surrendered on Monday to serve a 120-day jail sentence in Pasadena. But with 22 victims revealed over many months, from Long Beach to the San Fernando Valley, how exactly did law enforcement finally catch up to him?

https://la.eater.com/2019/1/17/18186...es-restaurants
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 20 January 2019, 03:54 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 9,810
Default

Huh. I agree that inviting somebody to dinner and then sticking them with the bill is obnoxious; but I had no idea that it was illegal.

How do they go about proving that he promised to be the one to pay in the first place? -- I suppose maybe if the invitations were made online, there might be a record.

There seems to me to be a clearer case to be made for his other scams -- presumably nobody paid the providers of the haircuts at all, for instance. But maybe he was also charged with those.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 20 January 2019, 04:47 PM
Beachlife!'s Avatar
Beachlife! Beachlife! is offline
 
Join Date: 23 June 2001
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 28,651
Default

There's almost certainly messages to the victim indicating that he was offering to pay for dinner.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 20 January 2019, 04:49 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 26,408
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
How do they go about proving that he promised to be the one to pay in the first place?
Would they need to? Surely the legal default in a restaurant would have to be that you pay for the food you eat.

You couldn't go in on your own, eat a meal, point at the people at the next table, say "they're paying" and walk out, and then leave it up to the people at the next table to have to prove that they'd not secretly arranged to pay for your meal beforehand and then (for some reason) deny doing so when it came to it. So what difference does it make if you're sitting at the same table when you do that? There isn't even a generally agreed social convention that says that's acceptable, since you call it "obnoxious" to do so, let alone a legal obligation for the person you're sitting with to pay for your food.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 20 January 2019, 05:11 PM
ASL's Avatar
ASL ASL is offline
 
Join Date: 04 July 2003
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 5,925
Ponder

Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Huh. I agree that inviting somebody to dinner and then sticking them with the bill is obnoxious; but I had no idea that it was illegal.
It’s not super clear that it is. They mention they tried to charge him with extortion and arrested him for that, but a judge threw it out. Then they say he was ultimately convicted of four misdemeanor charges.

What were the charges? Were they related to his dine and dash escapades, or were they related to his much more clear cut (legally speaking) "snip and ditch" incidents? Were they related to other other illicit activities he is implied to have engaged in?

All in all, this was some pretty sloppy reporting.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 20 January 2019, 06:02 PM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 12,333
Default

A few more details here. https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/cal...500981192.html

He pleaded no contest to 3 counts of defrauding an innkeeper, and one count of petty theft. That article mentions that he got jail time, but also is prohibited from using certain dating apps, and is subject to "search and seizure conditions." That tells me that he is actually sentenced to probation, with serving some jail time as a condition of the probation. So, there's a little more to the sentence than the articles make it sound like.

I can see the difficulty in charging him. The women paid out of embarrassment or fear of being accused of being an accomplice and being charged with a crime. But, we're they really forced to do so?* If they are seen as voluntarily paying, then the retaurant has no issue. The issue between the two people might be more of a civil matter. (Along the lines of an unpaid loan, or unjust enrichment or something like that).

* I think there are some arguments that they were, too. I'm not sure what fits, but I do think it was reasonable for the women to not want to risk being arrested themselves. Especially if the restaurant was making any threats.

Last edited by erwins; 20 January 2019 at 06:17 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 20 January 2019, 06:08 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 9,810
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Would they need to? Surely the legal default in a restaurant would have to be that you pay for the food you eat.

You couldn't go in on your own, eat a meal, point at the people at the next table, say "they're paying" and walk out, and then leave it up to the people at the next table to have to prove that they'd not secretly arranged to pay for your meal beforehand and then (for some reason) deny doing so when it came to it. So what difference does it make if you're sitting at the same table when you do that? There isn't even a generally agreed social convention that says that's acceptable, since you call it "obnoxious" to do so, let alone a legal obligation for the person you're sitting with to pay for your food.
I think the default in a restaurant is that somebody in a group of people who requested to be seated together has to pay for the meal.

People eating at separate tables are assumed to not be sharing the bill unless someone's specifically stated otherwise -- and, if someone at table A said 'we're with table B and they're paying' I'd expect the restaurant to check that with table B before letting everyone at table A get out the door.

It's very common for two or more people requesting to be seated at one table to split the bill among them, either by asking for separate checks or by sorting out a single check privately at the table. But it's also very common for one person to pay for the whole group. The restaurant has no way of telling which is going to happen unless someone asks for separate checks; which clearly wouldn't have happened in this case, as the women expected the man inviting them to pay the whole thing, whereas the man expected to stick the women with it.

There are eating places at which unconnected people can wind up sitting at the same table; but IME these are the sort of places at which one's generally paid for the meal before getting it.

ETA again: why did I briefly think, on looking at the article erwins posted, that this happened in France? It was apparently in California. -- oh. The article's illustrated, for reasons entirely unclear to me, with a photo taken in France and labelled in largish print as such.

Last edited by thorny locust; 20 January 2019 at 06:15 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 20 January 2019, 06:34 PM
Beachlife!'s Avatar
Beachlife! Beachlife! is offline
 
Join Date: 23 June 2001
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 28,651
Default

Although one person can certainly pay for the food of another, until that happens everyone is responsible to pay for the food they ate.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 20 January 2019, 10:03 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
Join Date: 27 March 2004
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Posts: 4,651
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Huh. I agree that inviting somebody to dinner and then sticking them with the bill is obnoxious;
This is a frequent plot line in the Agatha Raisin books by M.C. Beaton. It is used for humor and perhaps pathos. (Agatha is a middle aged private detective.)
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 21 January 2019, 05:54 AM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,765
Default

I would think that the moment you order (and especially eat) something at a restaurant you've entered a contract to pay for it. Obviously that's not always how it works out but you are obligated to pay even if it turns out someone else pays in the end. That is, I don't think it would require that he agreed to pay for someone else's beforehand, just that he ordered (and ate) and didn't pay is almost the same as shoplifting. (At least, that's what i was told way back when I was taking orders that were paid afterwards. IANAL of any kind.)
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 21 January 2019, 02:36 PM
ASL's Avatar
ASL ASL is offline
 
Join Date: 04 July 2003
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 5,925
Read This!

Morally and on a strictly speaking legal level I’m sure your correct. But when it comes to what can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, particularly when there's a social custom (whereby it’s not uncommon for one member of a dining couple to pay the whole bill) at the center of the issue, and the bill was paid in the end—a defense lawyer could argue voluntarily, even—it gets a bit murkier.

I think that’s where extortion comes in because he manipulated and intimidated his victims into forking over money on his behalf by proxy, relying on the restaurants and the legal system to pose the threat in his absence.

But then a judge through those charges out. I could see fraud, but only if he promised to pay as a condition of the date (and someone can prove that in court).

BT

Is the restraunt even a "victim" if they are paid in the end—that very night—by an accompanying diner? And, more to the point, can you prove it beyond a reasonable doubt?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 21 January 2019, 05:48 PM
crocoduck_hunter's Avatar
crocoduck_hunter crocoduck_hunter is offline
 
Join Date: 27 May 2009
Location: Roseburg, OR
Posts: 13,071
Default

I find it hard to think of how the restaurants could be considered victims unless he caused additional damage to them. If they got paid in full for the services they provided, regardless of who paid, they weren't the ones hurt by his actions.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Footage Surfaces from Jerry Lewis' Infamous 'Day the Clown Cried' BrianB Amusement Bark 12 15 August 2013 04:32 PM
Saddling servers with restaurant 'dash-and-dine' tabs is illegal snopes Legal Affairs 6 22 December 2009 04:39 AM
Caught in the Web snopes Snopes Spotting 0 01 October 2009 12:38 AM
UK television falls for the infamous canyon jump pic DobbinDodger Sightings 16 02 June 2008 01:08 AM
Infamous Nashua Death Car sold for $165,000 snopes Automobiles 0 26 January 2007 10:39 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.