OXNARD : 2 Ordered to Face Trial on Grand Theft Charges

A judge who said he planned to throw out felony grand theft charges against two former Oxnard card casino promoters charged with stealing $10,000 in an unrelated construction deal changed his mind Monday.

Superior Court Judge Allan Steele denied a defense motion to dismiss the charges against Michael E. Wooten, 45, and Frank Marasco, 48. He ordered the men to appear in court today for the start of their trial.

Previously, Steele had said he was inclined to dismiss the charges.

Wooten, of Camarillo, and Marasco, of Ventura, are accused of submitting a false $10,000 voucher to a consortium of Ventura County investors for work on a development project in Santa Paula, prosecutors said.

Instead of paying a construction firm for overseeing the work, the defendants spent the money, prosecutors said.

Steele's ruling Monday was the second setback for the men in the past four days. On Thursday, a judge fined them $3,000 each after they pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of money laundering.

Each defendant admitted violating state law by making $998 in small contributions indirectly to two Oxnard councilmen, one former councilwoman and a state assemblyman.

Both cases against the defendants were investigated by the Ventura County district attorney's newly formed political corruption unit.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World