SANTA CRUZ -- A Seascape man is facing allegations that he defrauded an investor out of $279,920 by pocketing the money he said he was using to develop land in Idaho.
Charles Baxter Black, 56, was arrested by Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputies at his Racquet Landing home Friday. He posted bond on bail of $100,000 and is out of custody. He is due to be arraigned Dec. 14.
Prosecutor Kelly Walker filed three felony charges against Black alleging that he told an investor he was developing property in Idaho and then failed to tell him when the project fell though in 2008, and failed to return the money.
Black represented he was operating a company called Atherton LLC, but Walker said he couldn't find any company of that name.
The alleged fraud came to light when the investor, a man in his 60s, was diagnosed with a terminal illness in May and asked for his money back, the criminal complaint alleges.
When told to "hang in there" until June, the man became suspicious and hired a private investigator and then reported the case to authorities, per Walker's complaint.
"There was evidence he had something going on in Idaho, but when it fell through he didn't notify the victim," Walker said.
He said the two men met while working together in Silicon Valley some years ago.
Walker said the man lives locally, but online listings state he lived in Santa Cruz for many years but has moved to San Diego County.
The man first invested with Black in 2006, Walker stated in the complaint.
The statute of limitations for the charges is four years from discovery or when discovery could have reasonably been made and the charges were filed shortly after the victim realized something was amiss, he states. Black continued to say he was developing the property after it was abandoned in 2008 and spent the money on his own bills, Walker alleges.
Black's attorney, Reid Paul Schantz of Santa Cruz, could not be reached to comment.
Black told jail officials he was a self-employed land developer.
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