Calling the extortion plot against an elderly man duped into loving a stripper a "cruel act," a Ventura County judge issued the harshest possible sentence he could Wednesday when he sentenced the former nude dancer, Robin Goebel, to four years in prison.
A jury convicted Goebel, 31, of Simi Valley and Louis Ottilo, 57, of trying to extort $80,000 from Joseph Nakashima, 72, earlier this year. Nakashima was a regular at a Los Angeles strip club where Goebel danced under the stage name Bobbi.
Goebel and Nakashima struck up a 15-month relationship and often discussed marriage, investigators said.
In February, Goebel invited Nakashima to her Simi Valley apartment for a belated Valentine's Day celebration. While the two sat on her couch and discussed marriage, Ottilo burst in, pointed a gun at them and demanded $80,000.
When Nakashima tried to withdraw $40,000 from his bank, a teller notified police and the extortion plot unraveled. Investigators said Goebel and Ottilo were in cahoots, and both admitted to the extortion plan in court.
"This was a cruel act to arrange," acting Superior Court Judge Burt Henson said. "The victim was vulnerable with a history of heart trouble, and she pretended to be in love with him."
The blond-haired Goebel, dressed in a modest yellow dress and sweater, sat sobbing inconsolably at the defense table, clutching her attorney's arm as Henson pronounced his sentence.
Goebel, who remained free on bail since her arrest in February, was handcuffed and led from court after the 60-minute hearing where her attorney, Craig Robertson, had unsuccessfully urged Henson to give Goebel--a single mother of 6-year-old twins--a short jail term.
"For this offense, there is no loss and the victim was unharmed," because the pair never received the $80,000, Robertson argued.
But Ventura County Deputy Dist. Atty. Audry Rohn said Nakashima suffered "emotional injury" and that the $80,000 Goebel and Ottilo attempted to extort represented every penny of Nakashima's savings.
As further proof of Goebel's cunning, Rohn pointed to $56,000 in loans Nakashima made to Goebel that have never been repaid.
"She took his money, she took his faith, his hope and happiness away from him," Rohn said.
Additionally, two investigators from the state Department of Health Services attended the hearing. They refused to comment, but Rohn said the two are investigating Goebel for welfare fraud in connection with the $56,000 she received from Nakashima.
"She didn't report it while collecting [welfare]," Rohn said.
Ottilo of Canyon Country is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 15. He faces a maximum term of 13 years in prison, and Rohn said she will urge Henson to impose the toughest punishment.
Nakashima, of Gardena, testified that he befriended Goebel at the Jetstrip Cabaret near Los Angeles International Airport where she worked for 3 1/2 years. The two began to meet regularly for lunch and dinner and Nakashima thought of Goebel as his girlfriend, Rohn said.
Nakashima, a widower and retired warehouse worker, financed Goebel's breast implant surgery and helped pay her rent and bills. He also lent Goebel $20,000 because she said she needed to pay off an abusive boyfriend.
At trial, Nakashima testified that the two never had sex but exchanged massages and Goebel would bare her breasts.
He attended the sentencing Wednesday and displayed no emotion when Goebel was led off to prison. He declined to talk with reporters.
"This has been tough for him," Rohn said. "He loved her and still has feeling for her. He probably always will."