Paul Gonzales appeared to spare no expense when ordering dinner. Too bad he wasn’t paying.
As CBS LA reports, the 45-year-old Gonzales made a habit of sticking his dates with the dinner bill. Nicknamed the “Dine-and-Dash Dater,” Gonzales would set up dinners with women through dating apps. At dinner, he would order lavishly, then excuse himself and disappear before the bill was paid.Screenshot/CBS Los Angeles
One woman told CBS LA that she met Gonzales at a restaurant in Pasadena, where he ordered, “a glass of pinot, a Caesar salad with a side of shrimp, a steak and a baked potato.” When only about half of the potato was left, he excused himself to take a phone call and never returned.
Another of his victims told KCAL that when she had a first date with Gonzales at a nice restaurant in Long Beach, things began nicely enough: “[He was] very complimentary, very chatty, seemed to have similar interests.”
However, she was surprised when he ordered more than $100 of food for himself. She told KCAL she thought to herself that,
“This guy is obnoxious. First of all, who orders two entrees? But he excused it by saying he was a bodybuilder.”
She added that he left after the meal:
“He says, ‘I’m going to the bathroom, I’ll be right back,’ and he never did.”
Diane Guilmette, another of his victims, told KCAL a similar story: “He had an appetizer, he ordered a steak. This restaurant is all a la carte.”
According to KTLA, between May 2016 and April 2018, Gonzales pulled the same maneuver on at least 10 different women. In eight cases, the woman said she paid the check, while in two cases, the restaurant did. It’s estimated that Gonzales defrauded those eight women of approximately $950.
And now his dates are getting justice.
The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office has charged Gonzales with grand theft, seven counts of extortion, and two counts of attempted extortion — as well as two misdemeanors. If convicted, he faces up to 13 years in prison.
One of his victims told CBS LA that she’s happy he’s finally being prosecuted for his crimes:
“I’m ecstatic. I think justice is served. I hope he gets what he deserves.”
Another woman who Gonzales stuck with a big dinner check said that she got “even angrier” when she saw that she wasn’t the only woman he targeted. She joked to CBS LA, “He doesn’t have to worry about any meals now; he’s gonna get three square meals a day.”
Gonzales pleaded not guilty to the theft and extortion charges. He is currently being held on $315,000 bail, and his next court date is Sept. 7.