header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
53°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
April 13
1935 - Gladys Carter convicted of manslaughter in fatal shooting of Frances Walker, of the Placerita Walkers [story]
Gladys Carter


An Agua Dulce restaurant owner said fear over his business potentially losing power became a cautionary tale for others about a power scam after an internet thief took $6,800 out of his pocket last week.

Joe Marazzito, owner of Sweetwater Bar and Grill in Agua Dulce, said he was preparing for the restaurant’s St. Patrick’s Day crowd Wednesday when he received a call from someone claiming to be from Southern California Edison.

Marazzito said the voice on the other end of the line claimed to be the power company and that unless he paid an outstanding balance of $800 immediately, he’d lose power at his restaurant.

“It was St. Patty’s Day,” said Marazzito in a phone call with The Signal on Monday about the power scam. “They knew I had to have my power.”

The last year had been difficult financially on all restaurants, Marazzito said, and this year’s St. Patrick’s Day would be one of the first opportunities businesses would have to bring in customers and pay their staff.

The unverified scammer then told him that he would be able to keep his power on if he made an immediate cash payment of $800. Using what are now known to be falsified records, the voice on the other end throughout the process was able to electronically send Marazzito receipts with his name and the SoCal Edison logo encrusted upon them.

The person then informed the restaurant owner the payment would have to be sent through a specific ATM machine that would accept his cash deposit of $800 and send it through to the “power company” by use of Bitcoin. The machine’s cryptocurrency allows for free transfers of money in seconds, but the transactions are also untraceable.

Marazzito said soon after he made the first deposit of $800, and having spoken to his business partner about what was transpiring, he received another call from the scammers.

A new voice was now telling Marazzito that he was a general manager at Edison, and said the $800 payment was not received, and he’d now have to pay $6,000, or he’d shut off the power.

Again, Marazzito, fearing for his regulars and employees, did as he was told and sent the $6,000 in cash. Each time, he was given a receipt with his name, address, and case reference number on it through the ATM.

On his way back, he received a third call, with the third voice telling him the $6,000 hadn’t gone through, but if he sent another payment they would reimburse him for the first two. Marazzito then hung up, did not make the third payment, returned to work, and filed a Sheriff’s Department report in Palmdale on Friday.

Both SoCal Edison and law enforcement officials told him this wasn’t the first time they had heard about something like this happening, but they were unable to do much to get the money back.

Reggie Kumar, a public safety adviser for SCE, said the company was aware of the power scams and has been trying to educate customers on major red flags.

“Our hearts go out to this customer during this difficult time as many business owners struggle to stay open in the middle of a pandemic,” Kumar said.

He then provided the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of a utility bill or power scam:

* SCE does not have a “disconnection department.”

* SCE will never demand immediate payment with the threat of disconnection.

* SCE does not accept prepaid cash cards or bitcoins for bill payments.

* SCE will never ask for your credit card or account information over the phone.

* SCE employees will not demand to collect or accept payment in the field.

The 67-year-old restaurant owner said he came forward with his story because he wanted to spread awareness and let people learn from his mistake.

“I screwed up, and I never should have put the money in there,” Marazzito said. “But Edison will never ask you to pay cash for anything, and they will not call you to send a late notice.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, Apr 12, 2021
April 15: L.A. County to Modify Health Officer Order to Align with State
Los Angeles County Public Health officials will modify the Health Officer Order on Thursday, April 15, to align with changes to the state Blueprint for a Safer Economy regarding indoor live events and performances, private events such as conferences, receptions and meetings, and private informal gatherings.
Monday, Apr 12, 2021
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: L.A. County Death Rate Higher for Men Than Women; SCV Cases Total 27,482
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Monday confirmed 3 new deaths and 411 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as cases in the Santa Clarita Valley now total 27,482 since the pandemic began.
Monday, Apr 12, 2021
L.A. County to Open Vaccination Sites at COC, in Palmdale; Magic Mountain Site to Close
College of the Canyons and Palmdale Oasis Park Recreation Center will begin operating as Los Angeles County-operated COVID-19 vaccination sites in the northern part of the county starting Monday, April 19.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1935 - Gladys Carter convicted of manslaughter in fatal shooting of Frances Walker, of the Placerita Walkers [story]
Gladys Carter
Los Angeles County Public Health officials will modify the Health Officer Order on Thursday, April 15, to align with changes to the state Blueprint for a Safer Economy regarding indoor live events and performances, private events such as conferences, receptions and meetings, and private informal gatherings.
April 15: L.A. County to Modify Health Officer Order to Align with State
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Monday confirmed 3 new deaths and 411 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as cases in the Santa Clarita Valley now total 27,482 since the pandemic began.
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: L.A. County Death Rate Higher for Men Than Women; SCV Cases Total 27,482
Show producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher, and Steven Soderbergh on Monday announced the all-star cast of presenters at the 93rd Oscars, which will air live on ABC on Sunday, April 25, at 5 p.m. PDT.
Academy Reveals All-Star Cast of Presenters for 93rd Oscars Telecast
The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office has reported 10 productions filming in the Santa Clarita Valley aka "Hollywood North" the week of Monday, April 12-18, 2021
Now Filming in SCV: ‘Star Trek Picard,’ ‘Good Trouble,” 8 More Productions
College of the Canyons and Palmdale Oasis Park Recreation Center will begin operating as Los Angeles County-operated COVID-19 vaccination sites in the northern part of the county starting Monday, April 19.
L.A. County to Open Vaccination Sites at COC, in Palmdale; Magic Mountain Site to Close
As of Monday, Los Angeles County residents may apply for financial help to cover funeral expenses through FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program.
FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program Open to L.A. County Residents
In a 5-4 ruling late Friday night, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California can’t restrict home-based religious gatherings such as prayer meetings and Bible groups.
U.S. Supreme Court Blocks California Restriction on In-Home Religious Gatherings
A consulting firm hired by the city to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a city public health department in Santa Clarita did “not find a compelling case to change the basic structure of public health regulation” in Santa Clarita, according to a 17-page report published Friday as part of the Santa Clarita City Council’s Tuesday meeting agenda.
Report: No Compelling Case for Santa Clarita City Public Health Department
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital will present to the Santa Clarita City Council Tuesday a hospital expansion plan to increase facilities by 200,000 square feet.
City Council to Weigh Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Expansion Plan
The Santa Clarita Valley's COVID-19 vaccination rate has increased by about 5%, as 37% of residents 16 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to data through April 4 published by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
SCV COVID-19 Vaccination Rate Increases to 37%
1738 - Fr. Francisco Garcés born in Spain; came through SCV in 1776, found Tataviam fighting with Coastal Chumash, observed Santa Clara River flowing by night and dry by day despite the season being spring [story]
Garces statue
1987 - Ramona Chapel and Red Schoolhouse relocated to Heritage Junction [story]
Red Schoolhouse
1835 - Outlaw and Rocks/Park/High School namesake Tiburcio Vasquez born in Monterey, Calif. [story]
Tiburcio Vasquez
Nearly 100 people gathered in front of the highly anticipated Laemmle 7 in Newhall to officially open the theater to the Santa Clarita Valley community.
Laemmle Officially Opens in Old Town Newhall
The city of Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission recently met to receive an update from city staff about the status of the Pioneer Oil Refinery in Newhall.
Parks Commissioners Asked to Advise on Pioneer Oil Refinery’s Future
A judge’s ruling this week dealt a setback to the Tejon Ranch Co.’s proposed 19,000-unit Centennial development project in the upper northwest corner of Los Angeles County.
Judge Halts Centennial Development Project in Tejon Ranch
The California Community College Athletic Trainers Association has named longtime athletic trainer, and current College of the Canyons associate athletic director, Chad Peters its 2021 Athletic Trainer of the Year.
Chad Peters Named CCCATA 2021 Athletic Trainer of the Year
Los Angeles County Public Health on Friday confirmed 48 new deaths and 752 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 27,432 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: 27,432 Total SCV Cases; County Nears 5 Million Administered Doses
The Santa Clarita City Council Legislative Committee briefly met Thursday morning to recommend that the City Council oppose four pieces of state legislation that would expand the state’s land-use authority.
Council Committee Recommends Opposition to State Land-Use Bills
In an effort to provide kids across the Santa Clarita Valley with a safe place to play and learn over spring break while parents are working, the Boys & Girls Club of SCV holds an annual camp.
Boys & Girls Club Holds Spring Break Camp
In recognition of public safety dispatchers' services, the California Highway Patrol joins other law enforcement agencies to recognize National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week on April 11-17, 2021.
CHP to Honor Public Safety Dispatchers During National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week
Officials in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be hosting a virtual community discussion on child abuse prevention April 20.
L.A. County Sheriffs to Host Child Abuse Prevention Seminar
1937 - Pioneer aviator E.B. Christopher and passenger killed in crash of light plane on Ridge Route near Gorman [story]
wreckage
%d bloggers like this: