San Diego

After a 2 1/2-week preliminary hearing, a judge on Monday ordered three men to stand trial oncharges they conspired to defraud the San Diego Unified Port District of thousands of dollars in an elaborate scheme.

Former Port District parking meter collector Rudi Enriques, 37; former Port purchasing director Richard Cersosimo, 48, and a former auto parts store manager, Paul Manes, 48, were all told to prepare for trial.

Testimony was heard on the alleged scheme in which car repairs, stereos and equipment were billed to an auto parts store, which then billed the Port District after invoices were doctored.

Enriques is charged with 10 counts of forgery, 6 of grand theft, 3 of misappropriation of public funds and 2 of conspiracy.

Cersosimo is accused of 6 counts of grand theft, 2 of conspiracy and 3 of misappropriation of public funds.

Manes is charged with 6 counts of grand theft, 2 of conspiracy and 1 of misappropriation of public funds.

San Diego Municipal Judge Nicholas Kasimatis set July 3 as the Superior Court arraignment date for the trio. The defendants were allowed to remain free on their own recognizance.

A fourth defendant, Arnoldo Castillo, 54, who handled the Port District's account for the auto parts store, has fled to Mexico and remains at large.

More than 60 witnesses testified during the hearing, documenting the paper trail in the case.

Three others have been charged in connection with the same fraud scheme, which caused a loss of $700,000 to the Port. William Clair, a retired member of the Harbor Police who pleaded guilty and was placed on probation, testified during the hearing last week.

William Garrett, 49, the former executive manager of marine operations with the Port, entered into a no-contest plea to the charges against him and will be sentenced July 11.

Last week, the seventh person, Ronald Barry Lewis, 45, a computer consultant from Spring Valley, was charged with trying to defraud the Port District in the same scheme by having invoices of computer purchases sent to the port.

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