Alleged landscape scammer’s plea continued - The Gilroy Dispatch: Crime Fire Courts

Alleged landscape scammer’s plea continued

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 1:41 pm

The plea hearing for the man who allegedly charmed multiple South County seniors into giving him money for landscaping services he never completed was continued to Nov. 1, due to the public defender declaring a conflict in the case.

A frowning Michael Oliveira, 43 of Gilroy, sat in court Thursday morning, looking drained and drowsy. Dressed in jeans and a worn-out shirt, Oliveira sat with his arms folded as he waited his turn to stand before the judge.

Oliveira faces up to 14 years in jail for 13 counts of petty theft and eight counts of misdemeanor elder fraud.

After the confidential conflict was declared, the case was handed to a new public defender, Renee Hessling, who said she hadn’t had time yet to look over the case. She requested the plea to be continued, and the judge accepted.

Oliveira was arrested July 21 in Gilroy, one month after the District Attorney's Office launched an investigation into the 18 reports from Gilroy and Morgan Hill residents who claimed they were scammed by a “charming” middle-aged man trolling for money under the guise of an independent landscaper.

Oliveira was released from custody in July after posting a $25,000 bail. He is scheduled to enter a plea at 9 a.m. Nov. 1 at the South County Courthouse in Morgan Hill.

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