Stick a fork in the so-called “Dine-and-Dash Dater.”
The man accused of repeatedly inviting unsuspecting women to restaurants, ordering lavish meals and vanishing without paying anything was convicted under a plea deal Tuesday.
Paul Guadalupe Gonzales, 45, pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor counts of defrauding an innkeeper by nonpayment and one misdemeanor count of petty theft, the Los Angeles County District Attorney said.
The fast-talking, wine-guzzling serial tab-skipper was immediately sentenced to 120 days in county jail and three years of summary probation and was ordered to pay restitution.
While on probation, he’s banned from trawling the dating web sites PlentyOfFish.com and Bumble.com and is required to keep his distance from five restaurants, prosecutors said.
From May 2016 through April 2018, Gonzales targeted women on dating apps, lured them to restaurants, ran up big tabs and disappeared without paying any of the bill, prosecutors previously said.
One of his alleged victims told the Daily News she was satisfied with Tuesday’s result.
“I think justice has been served. He got jail time and has to pay restitution and he’s banned from Bumble,” Carol Meredith, a model from Valencia, Calif., said in a phone interview.
“I don’t know if that sentence will deter him. He might go to another state and use an alias. But there’s always karma. I believe in karma,” she said.
'When it happened to me, I was dumbfounded'
Meredith said Gonzalez invited her to a Mexican restaurant last Spring after they met on Bumble. She said before she even arrived, he consumed a platter of shrimp tacos. He then ordered a second meal with her, excused himself to go to the bathroom and disappeared.
“When it happened to me, I was dumbfounded,” she said. “Clearly he has some issues. It was like a game to him, to see how much he could humiliate us.”
She said in her case, the restaurant picked up the tab.
“The fact that he did this on like 20 dates over multiple years, it’s kind of ridiculous,” she said.
During a preliminary hearing in September, Gonzales furiously scribbled notes as multiple other women testified about their dates from hell.
Martha Barba told the court she met Gonzales at a Chipotle on July 4, 2016, and let him talk her into a meal down the street at the upscale restaurant Houston’s even though she could tell there wasn’t a spark.
“I didn’t want to go. He didn’t look like his pictures. I wasn’t attracted to him,” Barba testified, explaining they decided to meet in person after first connecting on a dating app.
“He kept saying, ‘I got you. Order whatever you want. It’s on me. Don’t worry about it,’” Barba said. “He ordered steak, wine, salad, just whatever you could order.”
She said at one point he got up to take a call and suggested she order dessert while he stepped away. He never came back. She was stuck with the bill that ended up around $160, she testified.
A single mom, Barba said she had to dip into her rent money to cover the tab.
“I felt embarrassed and didn’t want to say anything,” she testified.
Another alleged victim, Yolanda Lora, spoke to The News outside the courtroom in September.
She said Gonzales invited her to a sushi restaurant in West Hollywood shortly after she moved to Los Angeles and they met online.
“I remember he was talking really fast and ate really fast and said his youngest son was calling him,” Lora said, recalling that Gonzales ordered two glasses of wine in the space of only 10 or 15 minutes.
He got up for the call and never returned, she said.
“What kind of monster does this? I was so embarrassed,” she said. “I’m just glad he got caught. I don’t want any other women to have to go through that.”
According to prosecutors, Gonzales ordered expensive wines, steaks, lobster tails, chocolate souffle and other delicacies during at least 10 to 18 dine-and-dash dates.
Prosecutors tried charging him with extortion of some of the women, but the judge ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to take those charges to trial.
“The defendant’s wrongful conduct induced innocent third parties to pay for his meal, using the implied threat of public humiliation or being viewed as an accomplice to defrauding an innkeeper,” prosecutors said in a September court filing.