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Irvine man suspected of scamming H.B. woman

William Scott Spalding of Irvine allegedly took $280,000 in fraudulent gold transaction. Police believe there are additional victims.

August 25, 2011|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

Huntington Beach police are seeking the public's assistance in identifying additional victims of an Irvine man who allegedly scammed a resident out of $280,000.

William Scott Spalding, 46, was arrested Tuesday in Irvine by U.S. Deputy Marshals, who have been assisting Huntington Beach police during their five-month investigation, said Lt. Russell Reinhart.

The investigation began in March after a Huntington Beach single mother called police to report that Spalding allegedly took $280,000, which the woman invested in a gold transaction, Reinhart said.

Spalding told the woman he bought large amounts of gold. The woman paid Spalding the money in January after he promised to deliver the gold to her shortly thereafter.

"She had met with him," Reinhart said. "He somehow gained her confidence and convinced her to invest."

When Spalding didn't keep his end of the deal, the woman contacted him to no avail. She had a phone number for him and an address to a business he claimed in Beverly Hills, Reinhart said.

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The phone number was later disconnected, and police determined that the address was fictitious.

Spalding had stashes of cash where he lived in Irvine, had recently bought a Bentley, drove a new Mercedes and smoked $100 cigars, Reinhart said. He had been a fugitive since late 2009, when he was released early from federal prison to pay restitution to other victims of his schemes, Reinhart said.

Spalding, who legally changed his name in April to Jonathan Scott Morgan, was convicted and sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for a Redondo Beach scam. He stole $300,000 from Redondo Beach residents who thought they were investing in a movie deal. Spalding's two recent business names are Gibraltar Capital Group and Marbella Entertainment Group.

Reinhart said his department's Fraud Unit detectives, who have been investigating this case, believe there are additional victims of Spalding based on their investigation and what they found following a search warrant of his home.

He is currently in federal custody.

Anyone who has additional information or believes he or she may have been a victim of Spalding is asked to call Det. Brad Smith at (714) 960-8848 or Sgt. Dale Shields at (714) 536-5948.

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