After being postponed five times, the sentencing hearing for former Menalto Cleaners owner Edwin Gary Smith was finally held on Friday, March 17. Criminal Presiding Judge Elizabeth Lee sentenced Mr. Smith, 64, to six years in state prison.
In July 2016, Mr. Smith pleaded no contest to eight felonies: one count of fraudulent use of "an access card" for grand theft, and seven counts of identity theft, according to San Mateo County prosecutors.
Mr. Smith, who had customers' credit card numbers on file at Menalto Cleaners, located at 1921 Menalto Ave. in Menlo Park, for monthly billing for dry cleaning services, was accused of making unauthorized charges to those cards, prosecutors said.
Several customers confronted Mr. Smith about the unauthorized charges and Mr. Smith allegedly agreed to pay them back, but did not and continued to make unauthorized charges, prosecutors said.
Two customers alerted police and others came forward after an investigation, prosecutors said.The case contained charges from 19 alleged victims who claimed to have lost more than $350,000 combined.
During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors asked for Mr. Smith to serve eight years in state prison. According to prosecutors, Mr. Smith read a statement "asking for mercy, saying that he is aware of the trust that he betrayed and that he has a plan for repayment when he gets out."
Mr. Smith will get credit for 32 days served.
A restitution hearing is scheduled to be held May 5 to determine how much Mr. Smith will have to repay victims.
For the Almanac's previous coverage: