By Matt Coker
By R. Scott Moxley
By Charles Lam
By Nick Schou
By Gustavo Arellano
By Gustavo Arellano
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
Even after that, Monteilh managed to coax another $15,000 from Danielle, a good-faith showing on her part that would smooth the way for her to double her rate of return and be paid $91,000 by that weekend. That never happened. Just as before, Monteilh apologized and promised her the money was on its way. Once again, he failed to deliver the cash, and Danielle realized he’d bilked her of $54,256 that she’d never see again. She called the Irvine Police Department, but the detective who took her call told her that she had no more legal standing against Monteilh than a person who gave a drug dealer money but was never delivered the drugs.
Danielle also posted a complaint against Monteilh on the Internet, detailing his fraud and accusing him by name. One person who read the post was “Carla”—which is not her real name—a previous Monteilh victim. She had met Monteilh in February 2006 at Twin Towers Fitness in Irvine. “We actually started dating,” she says. “He was actually the worst lay of my life, not very romantic. If it wasn’t for the money I gave him, I never would have kept dating him. But I was stuck.” Just as Monteilh later did with Danielle, he introduced himself as a fitness consultant who was looking for an investor who wanted to earn massive profits. Between February and August, Carla gave Monteilh a total of just more than $100,000—and never received a single penny in return. She even bought Monteilh a Samsung plasma flat-screen television, which Monteilh said he’d give to the president of the “pharmaceutical cartel” in a bid to ensure she’d receive even more money in return for her investment.
“When I met him, he was driving an old Lexus sedan,” she says. “After I gave him about $20,000, he purchased another car, a new Chrysler 300. After a few months, he was making all these excuses about why I couldn’t get paid. He would always talk about this money being invested in other countries at a high rate of interest and that his phone calls were being monitored. He had me living in fear that if I said anything to anyone, it would interfere with my payout.”
Monteilh told Carla he was involved with Eastern European businessmen who he often had to meet early in the morning, which was why he never spent the night at her apartment. “Obviously, I didn’t know he was married,” she says. (By his own admission, Monteilh was indeed married at that time.) Carla found out about his wife only after she read Danielle’s Internet post and realized she wasn’t the only person Monteilh had conned. Together, she and Danielle hired a private investigator, who told them about Monteilh’s marital status and the fact that he’d served prison time for writing bad checks. “Looking back, I feel stupid, but the man was so good at manipulating,” Carla concludes. “This gentleman is extremely good at what he does and can actually convince you to believe anything he says.”
In January 2007, after hearing each other’s horror stories about Monteilh, both Carla and Danielle walked into the Irvine Police Department’s headquarters, determined to find someone who would listen to them. They met with Sergeant Terry Head and Detective Ronald Carr, who promised to follow up on their accusations. Carr has since retired and could not be located; the police department refused to make either officer available for an interview.
But a September 2007 police report obtained by the Weekly shows that Carr questioned Monteilh about the two women at his house. “The first thing I noticed was a large-screen Samsung plasma television mounted on the wall of the living area,” Carr wrote. When Carr asked Monteilh about Carla, he claimed she had made up lies about him because of their “dating relationship.” Monteilh’s wife was in the room, and when Carr asked her if she knew Monteilh was dating other women, she said she “knew everything about him.” Monteilh denied any wrongdoing, but Carr left the house determined to see him put behind bars for numerous counts of grand theft. “Based on this investigation,” he wrote, “I am requesting an arrest warrant for Craig Frederick Monteilh.”
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By the time Carr’s grand-theft investigation brought him to Monteilh’s house in Irvine, the target of his probe had already received tens of thousands of dollars in payments from the FBI in return for spying on mosques. At least, that’s how much Monteilh conservatively estimates the FBI paid him from early 2006 through late 2007, when Carr’s investigation sent him back to state prison. Monteilh claims his work as an informant actually began with his first stint behind bars in 2002, when he spent a year at Chino State Prison for writing bad checks.