From November 2009 through January 2011, Marcus Joseph Dewitt participated in a con game that preyed on unemployed people by placing fraudulent job advertisements.
The trick involved convincing people hoping for work as drivers for escorts at an upscale, adult entertainment company to send refundable security deposits through MoneyGram International.
In exchange for the deposits, Dewitt promised to provide details about the prospective employees' first shifts.
But there were no jobs and the deposits, in fact, weren't refundable.
Using a computer at a Wal-Mart in Anaheim, Dewitt withdrew the wired funds for personal use.
According to a December 2011, federal indictment, the thief committed wire fraud by stealing $5,720 from 20 victims.
Dewitt eventually acknowledged his guilt in a plea agreement and Assistant United States Attorney Daniel H. Ahn recommended full restitution and supervised probation for three years–but no prison time.
The defendant's defense lawyer claims Dewitt suffers from mental issues as well as alcohol and drug abuse, and should not be sent to prison.
This week inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter agreed with Ahn's recommendation.
Carter told Dewitt, who was born in 1989, to pay at least 10 percent of his monthly, gross income to the victims, but never less than $50, according to the judge's punishment order.