Originally posted at 12:26 p.m. July 11, 2014. Edited with new details.
A 30-year-old Montreal native extradited from Canada to face charges of swindling an 86-year-old Seal Beach widow out of $30,000 pleaded not guilty today to grand theft and other charges.
Daniel Marcotte, who was brought back to the Southland on Wednesday night, was arrested in a Montreal suburb last September on a warrant charging him with two felony counts each of grand theft and theft from an elder adult, according to police and Orange County court records.
He was arraigned this afternoon at the West Justice Center, and remains in custody without bail pending a July 17 pretrial hearing.
Seal Beach police teamed with New York police and Canadian authorities to track down Marcotte, who is accused of calling the Seal Beach woman Feb. 18 of last year and claiming to be her grandson, Randy, said Seal Beach police Detective Cpl. Mariana Martinez.
He allegedly told the woman that he was in a Mexican jail and needed $15,000 bail money, prompting her to wire the money the next day to a "Matthew Jones" at a FedEx store in a Sheraton hotel in New York City, Seal Beach police Sgt. Philip Gonshak said.
The suspect allegedly called the victim again on Feb. 20, saying he needed another $15,000 sent to Matthew Jones at the same address. The woman again complied, according to the sergeant who said the suspect used a false Canadian driver's license to pick up the money.
When the woman realized she had been duped, she called Seal Beach police.
"Luckily, she saved her information where she sent (the cash) to, and that was enough for me to start gaining some information," Martinez, the chief investigator on the case, told City News Service last September.
Investigators suspect there are more victims who have been fleeced out of more than $100,000, Gonshak said.
He said Marcotte was living a "lavish lifestyle," was a regular visitor to nightclubs, and claimed to be a celebrity chef.
Surveillance photos shown in news reports on the case led to tips from Montreal residents that helped investigators identify and find the suspect, Martinez said.
--City News Service