RIVERSIDE – A Menifee man pleads guilty to 143 felony counts associated with the strong-armed demands he made to Riverside city and county businesses under the guise of advocacy for the disabled. On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Rodolfo DeHoyos, 56, made his plea at the Riverside Superior Court. His charges include; extortion, attempted extortion, grand theft, attempted grand theft, and financial elder abuse.
During the latter months of 2014, complaints were made by numerous small business owners in Riverside and other cities in Riverside County. Authorities said that DeHoyos would represent himself as an advocate for the disabled community and would leave notices alleging ADA access violations in the name of “ADA Advocates and Consulting”. Through investigation, it was learned that DeHoyos and his associates contacted around 100 businesses saying they would follow up with the businesses with emails, letters, calls or in-person visits.
DeHoyos demanded monetary settlements for the ADA violations, threatening to take the business owners to court, seeking awards of up to $40,000 plus fees if they failed to comply. Demands of anywhere from $500 to $10,000 were made to the businesses, either by serving noticed himself or using “runners” to gain additional “business”.
Months after the reports, on April 30, 2015, a search warrant was served on DeHoyos former home in Wildomar. Additional victims, approximately 50, were identified by evidence recovered. DeHoyos acquired over $140,000 in “settlements” from various Riverside city and County businesses. The fund collected went directly to DeHoyos’ personal finances, none ever going to assist anyone disabled who he claimed to be working on behalf of. DeHoyos himself had no disability preventing him from using or preventing access to any of the restaurants
DeHoyos was arrested on April 30, 2015, and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. DeHoyos’ bail was set at $250,000, but when additional victims were identified, on May 7, 2015, bail was raised to $1 million. The District Attorney’s office added additional counts of several of the charges including; 8 counts of Extortion by Letter, one count of Grand Theft, and one count of Money Laundering.
Cindy Roth, President, and CEO of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce said, “We’re very pleased that this case has reached its conclusion and this individual can no longer harass our local businesses and misrepresent the concerns of the disabled community. The Chamber is very proud and thankful for the collaboration between our member businesses and our partners at the Riverside Police Department and the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.”
DeHoyos is ordered to pay victim restitution and will be sentenced on February 3, 2017, at the Riverside Superior Court.
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