Edwin Gary Smith, the owner of Menalto Cleaners, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, Jan. 28, to 40 felony counts stemming from alleged credit card fraud.
Menlo Park police arrested Mr. Smith Jan. 14 after an investigation uncovered more than $678,000 in fraudulent credit card charges to at least 38 customers from December 2011 to October 2014, prosecutors said.
E. Gary Smith (Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac.)
The current case involves 19 alleged victims who lost more than $350,000 combined. One client lost $70,000 without noticing for 18 months, the San Mateo District Attorney's Office said. Other frauds reportedly occurred outside the three-year statute of limitations.
According to the DA, several customers confronted Mr. Smith about billing errors and he allegedly failed to pay them back as promised. Two patrons went to the police in late 2014.
Represented by attorney Michael Armstrong, Mr. Smith remains in custody on $350,000 bail. A date for a preliminary hearing is expected to be set by the court on Feb. 27.