CAMARILLO : Lawyer Convicted of Felony Grand Theft


Michael E. Wooten, a Camarillo lawyer who once tried to promote a card-club casino in Oxnard, was convicted Monday of one count of felony grand theft in Ventura County Superior Court.

The theft charged stemmed from a private construction deal unrelated to the casino proposal, which was later rejected by the city of Oxnard.

The verdict, by a jury in Judge Allan Steele’s courtroom, marked Wooten’s second criminal conviction in recent months. In April, Wooten and a business partner, 48-year-old Frank Marasco of Ventura, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of money laundering in connection with small contributions to some Oxnard political campaigns. Each was fined $3,000.


Marasco has also been implicated in the construction deal. He is set to go on trial Monday.

Prosecutors say the men submitted a false $10,000 voucher to a consortium of Ventura County investors for work on a Santa Paula development project. Instead of paying a construction firm to supervise the job, Wooten and Marasco divided the money between themselves, prosecutors charged.

Defense attorneys have contended that the pair supervised the project themselves.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jeff G. Bennett said Monday that the jury found that the men intentionally tried to defraud the lenders.

Wooten faces up to three years in prison, but Bennett would not say whether prosecutors would actually recommend that he go to prison.

Neither Wooten nor his attorney could be reached for comment.