Four months for credit card fraud

In criminal court proceedings Oct. 2 in Rappahannock County Circuit Court, Rudy Gomez-Santoyo was sentenced to four months in jail on two felony counts — of credit card fraud and using a credit card without the card owner’s permission.

Gomez-Santoyo, 25, pleaded guilty to both charges in July. Summarizing evidence at that time, Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff said that last Aug. 1, Gomez-Santoyo entered the Sperryville bedroom of his then-employer John Kiser, and proceeded to rummage through drawers looking for cash.

Though Gomez-Santoyo found none, Goff said he eventually discovered Kiser’s wallet and credit card, which he stole and used to pay a $500 car payment. Kiser noticed the charge a few days later, Goff said, at which point he confronted Gomez-Santoyo, who promptly admitted to the theft and offered to repay Kiser in cash.

Gomez-Santoyo later told the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office that he stole the card because he was “financially desperate,” Goff said. Though there were other items missing from Kiser’s bedroom, Gomez-Santoyo denied taking them, Goff added.

Kiser, who testified Thursday morning, said Gomez-Santoyo had completely repaid him; Kiser added he wasn’t seeking any further restitution.

Goff lobbied Judge Parker to sentence Gomez-Santoyo to six months in jail. “In the Commonwealth’s view, this is a particularly egregious crime and deserving of incarceration,” Goff said. “It’s a terrible thing to invade someone’s privacy.”

Scott Seguin, Gomez-Santoyo’s defense attorney, petitioned Parker for a suspended sentence, or at least less than six months in jail. Gomez-Santoyo’s actions, Seguin said, were due solely “to severe financial stress . . . though none of that makes it right.”

Seguin also pointed out Gomez-Santoyo had served nearly a month in jail in Culpeper County for a grand larceny charge and didn’t want to go back.

“It’s not like he hasn’t already tasted a significant portion of jail time,” Seguin said. “If the court were to hang a significant suspended sentence over his head, it could trust that Mr. Gomez will never be back before this court for any reason.”

“I know it was a bad thing I did to Mr. Kiser,” Gomez-Santoyo said before his sentencing. “I just want to say sorry to the court and to everybody.”

Judge Jeffrey W. Parker said he was “pleased” to see Gomez-Santoyo’s attempts to repay Kiser, as well as his ready admittance to his crime. “That suggests to the court you won’t commit a crime like this again,” Parker said, “but it doesn’t absolve you from your crime.”

Parker said he felt a six-month sentence was excessive, and instead sentenced Gomez-Santoyo to two years in jail on each charge (to run concurrently, with all but four months suspended), and placed him on supervised probation for two years.

Gomez-Santoyo was then remanded into the custody of the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office.