News

Six years in prison for E. Gary Smith of Menalto Cleaners

 

After being postponed five times, the sentencing hearing for former Menalto Cleaners owner Edwin Gary Smith was finally held on Friday, March 17. Criminal Presiding Judge Elizabeth Lee sentenced Mr. Smith, 64, to six years in state prison.

In July 2016, Mr. Smith pleaded no contest to eight felonies: one count of fraudulent use of "an access card" for grand theft, and seven counts of identity theft, according to San Mateo County prosecutors.

Mr. Smith, who had customers' credit card numbers on file at Menalto Cleaners, located at 1921 Menalto Ave. in Menlo Park, for monthly billing for dry cleaning services, was accused of making unauthorized charges to those cards, prosecutors said.

Several customers confronted Mr. Smith about the unauthorized charges and Mr. Smith allegedly agreed to pay them back, but did not and continued to make unauthorized charges, prosecutors said.

Two customers alerted police and others came forward after an investigation, prosecutors said.The case contained charges from 19 alleged victims who claimed to have lost more than $350,000 combined.

During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors asked for Mr. Smith to serve eight years in state prison. According to prosecutors, Mr. Smith read a statement "asking for mercy, saying that he is aware of the trust that he betrayed and that he has a plan for repayment when he gets out."

Mr. Smith will get credit for 32 days served.

A restitution hearing is scheduled to be held May 5 to determine how much Mr. Smith will have to repay victims.

For the Almanac's previous coverage:

Jan. 29, 2015: Menalto Cleaners owner pleads not guilty to 40 felony counts

Jul. 11, 2016 Edwin Gary Smith pleads no contest to eight felonies

October 15, 2015: E. Gary Smith pretrial conference date reset

Feb. 13, 2017: E. Gary Smith sentencing postponed again

Jan. 16, 2017: E. Gary Smith sentencing postponed again

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Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Srini
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2017 at 1:30 pm

It's about time! Is he finally locked up, or are they now giving him time to plan a convenient time frame for himself?


3 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 20, 2017 at 2:42 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Should have been in jail a long time ago. He also could have been paying restitution a long time ago.


1 person likes this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 20, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Jail makes sense, but six years sounds like a lot of time for this. If you ask me, six months is more like it.


4 people like this
Posted by Yet More Of The Same Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Joseph E. Davis -- "Jail makes sense, but six years sounds like a lot of time for this. If you ask me, six months is more like it."

Oh? And why is that? Major fraud not a serious enough crime in your eyes?


1 person likes this
Posted by Sheldon Kay
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 20, 2017 at 7:13 pm

Hard to pay restitutions when you are sitting in the clinker. A shorter sentence with a lots of community work with a some real jail time if he didn't repay would have been a better idea. I don't think we have a career criminal here.


9 people like this
Posted by The voice
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Mar 21, 2017 at 6:41 am

I do think you have a career criminal here. Hundreds of thousands were stolen. From the elderly, sick and those that have difficulty caring for themselves. He needed more time. For a guy that fancy himself as a community activist he should be ashamed. Nothing more than a wolf in sheeps clothing


3 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 21, 2017 at 8:08 am

SteveC is a registered user.

Rule #1 DO NOT give let anyone keep your credit card!!


2 people like this
Posted by maria
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 21, 2017 at 5:06 pm

He was a career criminal until they caught him and stopped him. People go to jail for much less than eight felonies. The question is: What on earth was he thinking?


1 person likes this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 21, 2017 at 5:13 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

Too bad. At his age, the sentence is a very big price.


1 person likes this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 27, 2017 at 12:41 pm

I liked Gary a lot and considered him a friend. Although I didn't lose money to him he tried to deceive me on a couple of occasions. I don't know why he did what he did but in the end that doesn't matter.

As far as him paying restitution, I don't believe it for a minute. How much restitution did he pay while out on bail and working? I am sure his pay was low and perhaps that made it impossible. But how will that be any different in 3-6 years? If he truly follows through later, good for him even if it is a small amount. Until then it's all hot air and words from a man who's demonstrated that he's a liar and hasn't changed his ways.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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