Serial dine-and-ditch dater faces 13 years in prison

Illustration for article titled Serial dine-and-ditch dater faces 13 years in prison
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We know that online dating appears to be some sort of social hellscape, but this is a new one. The Washington Post reports that 45-year-old Los Angeles man Paul Gonzales has been arrested for a horrific series of dine-and-ditch dates.


Gonzales would meet women on the internet, meet them for dinner, order expensive items off the menu, and then make an excuse to leave mid-meal. Dinner bills reported ranged from $130 all the way up to $250. On one of the dates, says the Post, “Gonzales ordered two entrees—a chicken dish and four lobster tails… expensive wine and then a soufflé for dessert.”

Says The Daily Dot, Gonzales “pleaded not guilty to seven counts of extortion, two counts of attempted extortion, and one count of grand theft, his dating debauchery totaling $950. If convicted, he could face up to 13 years in prison.” His accusers include not only his dates but a few restaurants that covered his pricey dinner bill for his abandoned dinner companions. Fortunately, it looks like his long con game is at its end.

Makes us think back to our online dating dinner guide, in which this advice still stands: Start with drinks first! That way, if the jerk never comes back from the bathroom, at least you’re only out 20 bucks or so.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.


I have three thoughts on this:

1) LOL. You are facing 13 years and got less than $1,000 of free food and drink.

2) Wait...13 years?!? I know very well that the maximum possible on things like this are never what the actual sentence will be (particularly since this is an obvious plea situation), but Jesus Christ California, maybe have more degrees to your theft/extortion code if this could qualify for that sentence. Dude is a knob, but Jesus.

3) It seems odd to go through the trouble of internet dating if you are not seeking to meet someone or at least get laid in the process. It seems like just about any other con would have been more profitable and have a significantly lower danger of being caught. Even if you used a fake name, the victims still have your fucking picture and phone number.