RIVERSIDE — A local attorney and his girlfriend accomplice were arrested for an intricate extortion scheme they perpetrated on eleven local hair salons and dry cleaning businesses.
From April to June of 2016, the 39-year-old attorney Rogelio Morales and 32-year-old Mireya Arias entered the businesses and “obtained minimal services from each.” Then they would return to each business claiming that they were going to file a suit because the business allegedly violated the Gender Tax Act of 1995.
The alleged suits were for $20,000 to $123,000. When the business owners contacted the law firm on the paperwork, Morales would then call and offer to settle out of court for around $10,000.
Apparently the duo’s intent in dealing with each business was intentional extortion.
The businesses that were victimized hired attorneys and as their investigation continued, one community activist/attorney organized a protest at Morales’ law firm. The activist then received threatening posts to her social media that were determined to have come from accounts connected to Morales.
In addition, Morales contacted other attorneys representing the various businesses and threatened them with litigation, unless they paid $10,000.
Both suspects were arrested on Thursday night on charges of extortion and burglary