On October 29, William Scott Spalding, a 47-year-old “movie producer” and “gemologist,” pled guilty to charges to defraud a Huntington Beach mother out of $280,000 and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison for his role in a gold scam. In total, authorities charged Spalding with 13 felony counts of money laundering, three felony counts of grand theft, and one felony count of first-degree residential burglary.
Spalding may well have other victims because he drove a Mercedes-Benz, had a home in Beverly Hills, and made other purchases with the money. According to prosecutors, he never purchased gold with the money he was given. Another reason that authorities suspect Spalding has other victims is that this is not the con man’s first arrest. In fact, Spalding was previously arrested for a 2008 fake movie scam involving Redondo Beach residents. He was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in Federal prison for his crime, but was released early so that he could begin making restitution payments. Instead of making those payments, however, he began working on his next scam.
According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, Spalding was introduced to the Huntington Beach mother by an acquaintance and later met her at her home. This type of first-hand introduction makes potential victims especially vulnerable. Other news sources have covered the trial results, however, none examined how Spalding insulated himself from discovery of his business practices as was done in the investigation for this story on October 29.
- Spalding still maintains a blog with the tag line “insites [sic] on the financial world that impacts you!” His blog had 25 entries in 2011 and 46 entries in 2010.
- He operated his “investment company” under the name Gibraltar Capital Group. A search on the Internet produced a respected company with an almost identical name on the East coast. At first glance, Spalding might appear to be a part of that company, but he is not, and a search of California business records turns up no record of Gibraltar Capital Group.
- Spalding also operated Marbella Entertainment, Inc., which is listed in California business records and which has a high-quality website at www.marbellaentertainment.com. The California Secretary of State’s office, however, now lists the status of the business name as “Forfeited.”
While Spalding did plead guilty to all charges against him, it would appear that he was, at least until the end, an optimist. He made a recent entry to his blog about the upcoming presidential election and how investments might be affected.
Terry Ambrose (terryambrose.com) is a mystery author with an interest in scams and cons. Find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter. His debut mystery, Photo Finish, is about a hot Honolulu con. Trouble in paradise never looked so good.