A Southern California couple has been arrested and charged in a wide-ranging mail fraud scheme that used a Santa Monica rented mail box to receive payments from victims around the country, according to the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office.
Maciej Noworyta and Brenda Chaidezdiaz were arrested at their Chino Hills home on December 2 and taken to Los Angeles County Jail. They were released on $200,000 combined bail last week.
As conditions of their bail, Noworyta and Chaidezdiaz had to surrender their passports; were ordered to remain in Southern California; and were prohibited from selling their real estate or motor vehicles.
The Santa Monica City Attorney’s office has filed a 30-count criminal complaint against Noworyta and Chaidezdiaz, charging conspiracy, grand theft and false advertising. The complaint is based on more than 1,200 victims who paid $20 each to sign up for work stuffing envelopes at home.
The couple is charged with circulating false advertising to induce victims to send $20, and then providing nothing at all or, at most, worthless documents. Allegedly, the pair used a mail box at the UPS Store on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica to receive payments.
The City Attorney’s Office together with federal investigators is continuing the search for additional victims who may have made payments over the past year.
The pair are alleged to have operated under a number of different names, including Mayflower Publishing, Executive Publications, Ad-Ventures International and Tri-Star Publishing.
A pretrial conference is scheduled to be held January 26 at the LAX courthouse. No trial date has been set.
“Consumers should always be wary of so-called employment offers that require them to pay any money,” said Deputy City Attorney Adam Radinsky. “If you’re working for them, they should only be paying you.” Radinsky also warned that all solicitations – whether by mail, telephone, or email – should be treated with skepticism. “If they contact you, and not the other way around, be very careful,” said Radinsky.If convicted, Noworyta and Chaidezdiaz face the following potential penalties. For each one of the 14 grand theft counts: up to one year in jail and a $2,700 fine. For each of the 14 false advertising counts: up to six months in jail and a $6,500 in fines. For each of the two conspiracy counts: up to one year in jail and $27,000 in fines.