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By Will Fritz
Staff Writer 

Fallbrook sheriff's deputies arrest suspected price-gougers amid pandemic


Last updated 3/18/2020 at 1:44pm

San Diego County sheriff’s deputies have arrested eight people in an operation targeted at stopping price-gouging during the coronavirus pandemic, a sheriff’s lieutenant said Wednesday.

California state law prohibits increases in prices of many essential goods and services by more than 10% during a declared state of emergency — a declaration Gov. Gavin Newsom made two weeks ago.

Sheriff’s deputies monitored multiple websites and apps involving peer-to-peer sales and discovered a large number of people selling things like hygiene products, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment at “exorbitant” prices, Fallbrook Sheriff’s Station Lt. Arnold Aldana said in a statement.

“These parties intended to maximize financial gain during the emergency with merchandise being offered for sale upward of twenty times its regular retail price,” Aldana said.

Plain-clothes deputies were able to set up meetings to purchase some of the upcharged goods, Aldana said, and after the sales were completed, deputies placed each of the sellers they contacted under arrest for violating anti-price-gouging laws.

The eight suspects arrested are:

Dale Gottschalk, 53, of El Cajon

David Gold, 53, of Escondido

David Noriani, 35, of San Diego

Tony Dai Ta, 53, of Poway

Chasity Lynn Long-Ross, 45, of San Marcos

Richard McCake Simpson, 47, of Vista

Spencer Ryan Silva, 26, of Escondido

Eric Marc Duran, 58, of Rainbow

Aldana said the suspects were each cited and released.

If convicted, they could face up to a year in county jail, or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Aldana warned Fallbrook residents to be on the lookout for scammers trying to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic. He also reminded community members that there are currently no products known to treat or cure the coronavirus — meaning anyone marketing a cure is a fraud.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at


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