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Partner: ‘He has nothing to lose’

Schaeffler identity theft trial delayed

Posted: October 6, 2008 9:42 p.m.
Updated: December 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 

A proposed plea deal in the William Schaeffler identity theft trial is delayed until Oct. 17 while both sides try to work out a plea deal, a district attorney's official said.

Schaeffler faces four felony counts including identity theft, commercial burglary, theft and grand theft for a $4,000 summer shopping spree with a former girlfriend's credit card.

She also claims Schaeffler ripped her off during the couple's three-year relationship between 2002 and 2005. The alleged victim's name is withheld for her protection.

Schaeffler winked at an audience as he walked into Santa Clarita Superior Court Monday.

"He thinks we're here to support him and all of us are here because he ripped us off," Brian Harvick said. Harvik is among a growing group claiming Schaeffler duped them out of money.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office offered a plea deal that included jail time, said Thomas Tibor, Schaeffler's attorney. He countered and both sides were at an impasse.

Tibor's counter offer kept Schaeffler out of jail and sentenced him to two years probation, said Ron Carey, deputy district attorney.

The breakdown in negotiations are a short-term road block, Tibor said, and added, "I expect a deal by Oct. 17."

The continuance starts the clock all over again at the preliminary hearing when Schaeffler can accept or reject the deal, Tibor said. If both sides don't negotiate a settlement before Oct. 17, then everything moves to an Oct. 30 preliminary hearing where Schaeffler either takes a plea deal or goes to trial, Tibor said.

The news of a deal without jail time fell on unforgiving ears. Todd Williams is a former business partner who also claims Schaeffler ripped him off.

Williams sat next to Harvick in court shaking his head as the proceedings dragged on for almost three hours.

"He'll just run. He'll disappear. He has nothing to lose" he said. Williams plans to file charges against Schaeffler.

"It's heart wrenching to hear what he has done to me and he could get probation. He should serve as much time as I have spent putting my life back together," the alleged victim said.

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