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Man suspected of defrauding AIDS Services Foundation

August 23, 2012|By Joanna Clay

A man suspected of bilking more than $16,000 from the AIDS Services Foundation could face felony charges of insufficient funds, theft and fraud, Laguna Beach police said Thursday.

The suspect, a 34-year-old from Cypress, remains unnamed because he has not yet been arrested at this time, Laguna Beach Police Capt. Jason Kravetz wrote in an email.

The man, who said he lived in Bel Air, attended the ASF Red Ball II gala Sept. 24 in Laguna Beach. He bought a $5,000 table for the event, and won several items during the silent auction, charity officials told police.

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The foundation sent multiple emails to the suspect seeking payment but there was no resolution, which led the foundation to file a fraud report Aug. 2.

The combined loss is $16,480, including the table, American Airlines vouchers, hotel vouchers, a man's watch, a handbag, Disneyland passes and autographed memorabilia.

The foundation was tipped off that the suspect was selling the airline vouchers on Craigslist because the buyer contacted the foundation when the vouchers were canceled due to lack of payment, according to police.

After the foundation filed the police report, Laguna Beach police discovered that the suspect was on felony probation for fraud-related charges, Kravetz wrote.

On Thursday, Laguna Beach detectives went to the suspect's Cypress home to conduct a probation search and found several of the auction items in his bedroom. During a police interview, the suspect gave details regarding the incident, police said.

Detectives continue to investigate and will submit the case to the Orange County district attorney's office next week, Kravetz wrote.

joanna.clay@latimes.com

Twitter: @joannaclay

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