FROM:  
Stephen Gibbons, Assistant District Attorney   CONTACT PERSON:
Cindy Seeley Hendrickson, Deputy District Attorney
(408) 792-2551   For release on May 26, 2005   LANDSCAPER PLEADS NO CONTEST TO 6 FELONY COUNTS FOR EMBEZZLING $3.1 MILLION FROM FIVE ELDERLY VICTIMS   On Thursday May 26, 2005, Charles Melvin Turner, 43, of Saratoga pleaded no contest to 6 felony counts of first degree burglary, elder financial abuse, grand theft and contractor fraud in a case that alleged that he embezzled over $3.1 million from five different victims, most of whom were elderly. Under the terms of the negotiated disposition, the defendant will serve between 8 and 11 years in state prison.   Turner was arrested in October 2004 after reports surfaced that he had obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars from many different victims supposedly to invest in various businesses he operated, including Love Concierge (a dating service), Sweet Giveaways (a vending machine company), and Four Seasons (a landscaping business.)  An investigation by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office revealed that instead of using the money for the stated investment purposes, Turner and his wife spent the money dining out, traveling, and living well. At least four of Turner’s victims may face foreclosure of their homes.  Turner convinced them to take out multiple mortgages with the promise that he would make the payments, but failed to keep the promise.  The loans were all orchestrated by Turner, working mostly with the same broker (Tom Wimberly and Linda Price of Homes and Loans, Inc. in Sacramento) the same title company (Alliance Title Company), and the same lender (GreenPoint Mortgage), though two of the largest loans are held by Chevy Chase Bank and Countrywide.    

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