By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
The July, online, employment ad sounded fantastic: $2,000 per week in compensation to work as an office manager at a Southern California "anti-domestic violence" charity that guarantees the chance to "hang out with major celebrities every week!" A woman, who out of fear asked me to not reveal her identity, responded with her résumé and promptly received a follow-up email from the president of Hollywood Helpers, Inc. "What you are about to read will titillate, and then scare the pants off you," wrote former The X-Files actor Prince Edward Maryland, before indicating the position offers a choice of office locations in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Fernando Valley, Palmdale, San Diego and Las Vegas, as well as "full medical/dental benefits," an expense account, bonuses and a company vehicle.
"People ask me, 'Why do you treat your workers so well?'" Maryland bragged in his email. "Well, I was a finance broker in Beverly Hills. We drove the best cars, ate at the best restaurants, lived 'la dolce vita' while the subords [sic] were mercilessly harangued. I said if I ever become prexy, my people will bless the day I was born! (They do!) . . . Your comfort is of tantamount concern."
If the opportunity sounded too good, Maryland also conceded there is "a rub" to his job offer. Prospective office managers must first work full-time for $15.62 per hour and no benefits in his fund-raising telephone center for a minimum of 90 days. He closed his pitch with a tug on the heartstrings: a reminder that his charity's goal isn't profit, but rather "a serious assault on the plague" of domestic violence.
Suspicious, the lady who received Maryland's email searched his name on Google and found a 2009 OC Weekly report. "I am so grateful I came across your article," she wrote to me. "Maryland is a very ill, sadistic, violent criminal who appears to enjoy physically and sexually abusing women. Is this guy back on the streets?"
Maryland isn't telling job applicants that his office is his home: a maximum-security cell at Ironwood State Prison in Blythe. He also isn't advising women that they are sharing their résumés and personal details with one of California's most dangerous sadomasochistic criminals, a onetime braggadocio gigolo, narcotics trafficker, forgery artist, stripper, deadbeat dad, cocaine addict, psychiatric patient, EMT and, though occasionally an artful wordsmith, a Catholic-high-school-educated pimp prone, according to 18 years of criminal records, to breaking the teeth, noses, arms, wrists, eardrums and ribs of women who didn't obey his orders.
According to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Bill Sessa, his agency prohibits inmates from running businesses. The rule hasn't stopped Maryland from directing at least seven companies, all of which entice people to donate money to him. Inmate F86550 is extraordinarily audacious. Who else could be a vicious, unrepentant woman beater and simultaneously manage anti-domestic-violence charities?
* * *
In March 2004, the future Mrs. Valerie Maryland, a well-educated and successful Orange County businesswoman with gorgeous eyes and an amiable smile, met 39-year-old Prince, a decade her junior, at an online, interracial dating website and had no clue of looming disaster. He portrayed himself as a well-connected movie producer on the verge of striking it rich with the likes of superstar Morgan Freeman. In fact, he had been unemployed, using a public bus for transportation, battling and losing a daily crack-cocaine habit, and living in government dormitory housing. She fell for his lies, allowed him to move into her modest, two-bedroom Lake Forest home, and agreed to marriage.
The initial stages of the relationship were, Valerie later told prosecutors, relatively enjoyable. They didn't spend a day apart for the first six months. But sadly, love blinded her to loudly flapping red flags. According to government files obtained by the Weekly, Prince earned an average of just $2,270 in annual income for the 18 years before he met Valerie. In the first 10 months of their marriage, he drained $65,000 from her savings and ran up more than $106,000 in credit-card bills. She fell so far into his ruse that she paid the monthly rent for a prop he'd use over and over to bolster his empty credibility: a small office at Raleigh Studios.
The illusion of happiness collapsed on April 8, 2005, when Prince and Valerie ate beef tacos at their favorite local Mexican restaurant for a celebration of sorts: He'd concocted a story about an impending $5 million loan for a movie project sure to earn, he surmised, at least $70 million in box-office sales. To help keep the fantasy alive, he drove to Van Nuys to buy $500 worth of rock cocaine. Before the night ended, he also hired two female prostitutes and filmed the group's wild, drug- and liquor-induced sexual escapades.
At some point after the hookers departed, Prince began a crime spree that left his wife a battered, bloody mess and guaranteed him a top-ranking spot in the annals of horrific California crimes. It started when he began to interrogate her about his suspicions that she'd been cheating. For hours, he beat her with his fists and a wire coat hanger while she insisted he was wrong. In hopes of stopping the attack, she eventually told him what he wanted to hear.