“He knew all the right things to say and that’s what makes me really angry inside,” a woman, identified only as Carol, said in an interview with Inside Edition in May.
She was talking about a man named Paul Gonzales, who had taken her on a date to a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles, according to the site. She didn’t know Gonzales’ reputation at the time, but found out by the end of their dinner.
Officials say Gonzalez was a serial “dine and dash dater” notorious for taking women on dates, then disappearing and leaving them dangling with an expensive bill, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
Now the DA’s office says it has charged Gonzalez with ten felonies, including extortion and grand theft, according to a release from the office. He could face up to 13 years in prison.
The DA’s office said that over three years Gonzalez would meet women on dating websites or apps, go to dinner with them, and then leave without paying any part of the bill. Eight women wound up paying the entire bill themselves and restaurants picked up the tab for two other women, according to the release.
In total, officials said Gonzalez defrauded the women of $950, and also allegedly walked out of a salon without paying.
Officers obtained an arrest warrant in July and arrested him on Aug. 25 in Pasadena, Calif., according to KTLA. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“He was good looking ... right away I think, why did he choose me?” said one alleged victim, who was identified only as Michelle, CBS2 reported. She said he ordered a filet mignon and other premium items, then suddenly said he had to go charge his phone and left her at the table, according to the station.
She was stuck with a bill of $130. “I didn’t mention it to the restaurant, nothing. I think I was more embarrassed, my pride was just like, you know, I felt dumb,” Michelle said, according to the station.
Several news stories have been written on him. Even a photo of him was allegedly circulated on Facebook. At least once, he allegedly got caught in the act.
“I said, ‘You’re the notorious dine-and-dash dater,’ and he kind of looked perplexed,” a restaurant manager told Inside Edition. “And I said, ‘That’s you, right?’ He said yes. I said, ‘Well, I’m not going to serve you.’” The restaurant picked up the bill for the woman, according to the site.
Gonzales is scheduled to be back in court on Sept. 7, according to KTLA.