A man dubbed the dine-and-dash dater, Paul Gonzales is facing a possible long prison term after being accused of serially dumping hefty restaurant bills for the women he calls out on dates via dating app. Once he’s done eating, the suspect would sneak out, leaving these women he invited on first dates with no choice but to cover their expenses as well as his expensive meals in upscale restaurants
According to the Los Angele Police, Mr Gonzales ordered expensive wines, steaks, lobster and desserts in more than a dozen dates in which he sneaked out without paying. He apparently wasn’t careful to cover his tracks. Details given in the court hearing shows that for 2 years in a roll (May 2016 – April 2018), eight women had to cover the check for their dates with the 45-year old dine-and-dash. In two other cases, the restaurants spotted them. The overall sum of his scheme Gonzales at restaurants in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Burbank and Long Beach is reportedly more than $950.
One of his victims who shared their ordeal told TV station KCAL9 that the suspect left her to pay more than $100 worth of food and drink which he ordered at the restaurant.
“This guy is obnoxious,” the anonymous lady said in 2016. “First of all, who orders two entrees? But he excused it by saying he was a bodybuilder.”
Another woman to the TV station in 2017 that he left half a baked potato and then bailed with a phone call he claimed he needed to take, but never returned.
Meanwhile, Gonzales, who already pleaded not guilty, listened as some of the women who appeared in court in Pasadena for his preliminary hearing testified about their experiences dating with the alleged serial dine-and-dash. One who identified herself as Martha Barba said she was due to meet the accused at a Chipotle outlet in July 2016, before he convinced her into a meal close by at an upscale eatery called Houston’s.
According to NY Daily News, Barba said she didn’t want to go since he didn’t look like the pictures he posted and she also wasn’t attracted to him but decided to be nice.
“He kept saying, ‘I got you. Order whatever you want. It’s on me. Don’t worry about it’,” she told the court. “He ordered steak, wine, salad, just whatever you could order.”
At one point, Gonzales excused himself to take a call and even suggested she order dessert while he stepped away to talk, she recalled, but he allegedly never came back, forcing Ms Barba to pay the $120 (£92) bill. Barba who is single mother said she “felt embarrassed and didn’t want to say anything.” She added that she had to use her rent money to cover the cost.
A criminal complaint read in the court stated that “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.” If convicted, the dine-and-dash dater could face up to 16 years in jail which prosecutors believed is justified, because he “set up a third party to take the fall”.
Court Charges against the dine-and-dash dater
Paul Gonzales has been accused of other related dine-and-dash frauds like leaving a hair salon without paying, still dressed in the salon’s robe. and had periodically made local headlines during his dine-and-dash reign. He now faces two counts of attempted extortion, seven counts of extortion, one count of grand theft and two misdemeanor counts each of defrauding an innkeeper and petty theft.
A judge is currently set to rule on whether the case should be taken to trial.
Dine-and-Dash is described as a form of fraud in which a customer orders and consumes food and drinks in a restaurant, or in s similar establishment with no intention of paying the bill. This is regarded as one of the truly unforgivable offenses in the culinary world.