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News Release

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Media Relations

UPDATE- Latin Salsa Singer Sought in Grand Theft Investigation

"UPDATE- Latin Salsa Singer Sought in Grand Theft Investigation"

 

Los Angeles: Financial Crimes Division, Valley Forgery Section, is conducting an investigation involving Grand Theft, Identity Theft, Credit card fraud, Forgery, and Money laundering, involving a ring of suspects who have operated children’s music schools in the Southern California area since 1997.

The suspects were specifically targeting Spanish speaking parents in the Hispanic community by calling and advising that their child had won an opportunity at receiving free music lessons. The suspects would then provide free accordion lessons for a few weeks. Following this trial period, they would talk the parents into signing for permanent classes. The enrollment process involved the suspect obtaining the parents’ credit card and other financial information. The suspects then made numerous unauthorized credit card purchases and use the parents’ financial information to commit identity thefts. The suspects also talked parents into investing thousand of dollars into worthless company bonds. After operating at a location for a few months, the suspects would close the music school without notifying the parents, or providing the new school location. These music schools are known to have operated in North Hollywood, Toluca Lake, Panorama City, Long Beach, Montclair, Glendora, Riverside, and Mission Hills, resulting in losses to the victims in excess of five-hundred-thousand dollars.

On October 25, 2001, LAPD officers served a search and arrest warrant at four locations in the Calabasas, Woodland Hills, and Mission Hills areas, resulting in the arrest of suspect Delia Milagros Leon (AKA. Mario Alberto Yunis, Maryleen Cohen Spielberg), and Juan Manuel Rocha (AKA Juan Carlos Ortiz and Pablo Vazquez). Officers also recovered thousands of dollars in cash, numerous credit cards, and hundreds of financial records belonging to unsuspecting families. The suspects are been held at Van Nuys Jail and bail has been set, for each, at two million dollars.

Detectives are requesting assistance in locating an additional suspect who is also wanted on a felony warrant for Grand Theft in connection with this case. The suspect has been identified as Omar Adalberto Arroyo, a Latin singer and actor known in the Hispanic community as Luis Omar. He is believed to be in Puerto Rico promoting the release of his recent Salsa CD titled "Asi, Asi". He is Hispanic, black hair, brown eyes, 6’0" tall, 185 pounds, and 26 to 27 years old.

Additional victims and anyone with information as to Arroyos’ whereabouts are asked to contact Detective Juan Baello or Detective Sharon Horan at 818-756-8323.

UPDATE: Detectives’ investigative efforts resulted in the filing of a felony case against Mario Alberto Yunis and Omar Adalberto Arroyo totaling 146 felony counts including Grand Theft, Identity Theft, Forgery, Perjury, Credit Card Fraud and False Credit Applications. Losses exceeded over two million dollars. Felony arrest warrants were issued for Omar Arroyo and bail was set at three million five hundred thousand dollars.

During this investigation, Detectives have pursued Omar Arroyo’s trail to Florida, Puerto Rico, New York, Canada, Mexico and San Jose, Costa Rica. On August 30, 2003, the Costa Rican Interpol arrested Arroyo in San Jose, Costa Rica, where he had opened a music and dance school for children. Detectives, along with the District Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Justice coordinated with the Costa Rican Government for the extradition of Omar Arroyo back to Los Angeles.

On November 24, 2003, Mario Yunis pled guilty to 4 counts of Conspiracy, Identity Theft, Grand Theft and agreed to be sentenced to a 12 year state prison term. Yunis is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12, 2003, by Judge Michael Hoff, in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Northwest District, Department R.

For additional information please contact Detective Juan Baello, Commercial Crimes Division, Valley Forgery Section, at 818-756-8323.

This news release was prepared by Public Information Officer Sandra Escalante, Media Relations, at 213-485-3586.



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