Charity Con Artist Who Stole Millions From Needy Seeks Leniency From Federal Judge

Mitchell David Gold--who created charities for wounded veterans, handicapped children, persons suffering with AIDS and disabled fire fighters--was superb at tugging on the heart strings of people across the nation.

During a portion of the 1990s, Gold collected millions of dollars in contributions for the needy and spent the overwhelming majority of it on the biggest charity case the Orange County man could find: himself.

Before his FBI arrest in early 2002, he'd raised more than $27 million for charity and kept for personal use merely $26 million.

At the same time of the charity scam, Gold also operated a "free" golf club trial marketing offer that conned people out of $1,500 each for cheap clubs--a scheme that stole $8 million from unsuspecting customers.

After a plea deal with federal prosecutors, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter sentenced Gold in July 2002 to serve 97 months in a federal prison and to pay restitution of more than $2 million. Carter sternly lectured him before U.S. marshals took him away.

Gold served his time but has had numerous difficulties obeying post-custody federal probation rules. For example, Carter learned in May 2011 that Gold had repeatedly failed to make his monthly restitution payments and been dishonest about his finances with probation officers probing his affairs. The judge, never one to antagonize, revoked his probation, ordered him to spend the night in jail and extended formal probation for 18 months.

To underscore his point, Carter also ordered the white collar criminal to perform menial tasks (like litter collection) outside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana.

Several months later, Gold asked that his probation be lifted. However, a federal prosecutor outlined numerous transgressions and the alleged lack of cooperation from the convicted felon's sister, Cindy Seide. Carter declined.

Now, Gold is once again seeking early termination of the supervision. He claims he wants to work as a real estate agent in Orange County but can't get his license while on criminal probation. The punishment is also apparently interfering with his love life.

"He wants to marry the love of his life, Sylvia Rand, but not until his is off probation," H. Dean Steward, Gold's defense lawyer, told Carter this month. "He wants to put this life altering event behind him and become a productive citizen again."

Steward--who claims his client has behaved "particularly well over the last year"--said Gold also wants to spend more time with a grand daughter in Arizona.

Federal agents have not yet weighed in officially with a stance on the request, but Carter has scheduled an August 13 hearing--about three months before the probation is scheduled to end.

While on probation Gold, who was born in 1957, has worked at First Team Real Estate in San Clemente and for his brother Richard Gold's National TV Spots.

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