header image

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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
86°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 25
1915 - Pioneer Juan Batista Suraco buried in a family graveyard, currently unmarked, in Bouquet Canyon near Benz Road [story]
Suraco family


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
Friday, Jul 23, 2021
Atkins Delays Resigning from SCV Water Board
Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency board member BJ Atkins told The Signal Thursday he has delayed his plan to resign from the board, due to construction delays on a house he is building outside of the agency’s jurisdiction.
Friday, Jul 23, 2021
Cleanup of Whittaker-Bermite Land Completed, Land Remains Up in the Air
As the cleanup of close to 1,000 acres of contaminated soil and water at Whittaker-Bermite comes to a close, and while lawyers in bankruptcy court hundreds of miles from the site slice through litigation so that one day stores or homes can be built there, the land itself is reverting to the way it was long before the dynamite makers made a mess of it, where the deer — if not the antelope — and other critters play, marking a robust return of wildlife.
Friday, Jul 23, 2021
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: County Reports Over 3,000 New COVID-19 Cases for First Time Since February 13; Henry Mayo Reports Highest Hospitalizations since March
On Friday, Los Angeles County Public Health officials confirmed seven new deaths and 3,058 new cases of COVID-19, marking the third day in a row with more than 2,500 cases reported in a day.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1915 - Pioneer Juan Batista Suraco buried in a family graveyard, currently unmarked, in Bouquet Canyon near Benz Road [story]
Suraco family
1864 - Walker/Reynier family patriarch Jean Joseph Reynier, then 15, arrives in Sand Canyon from France; eventually homesteads 1,200 acres [story]
Joseph Reynier
The Soraya, located at the California State University, Northridge campus, announced it is celebrating both its 10th Anniversary and its reopening with a special gift of five free concerts to welcome back and thank its loyal audience.
The Soraya Celebrates 10th Anniversary, Reopening with 5 Free Concerts
Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency board member BJ Atkins told The Signal Thursday he has delayed his plan to resign from the board, due to construction delays on a house he is building outside of the agency’s jurisdiction.
Atkins Delays Resigning from SCV Water Board
As the cleanup of close to 1,000 acres of contaminated soil and water at Whittaker-Bermite comes to a close, and while lawyers in bankruptcy court hundreds of miles from the site slice through litigation so that one day stores or homes can be built there, the land itself is reverting to the way it was long before the dynamite makers made a mess of it, where the deer — if not the antelope — and other critters play, marking a robust return of wildlife.
Cleanup of Whittaker-Bermite Land Completed, Land Remains Up in the Air
The city of Santa Clarita and Canyon View Estates have proposed two differing judgments in court filings this month on the matter of a solar panel system at the Canyon Country mobile home park.
City, Canyon View Estates Diverge on Solar Panel System Removal
Newhall School District board members voted unanimously Tuesday to ask the California Department of Public Health to provide new face-covering guidance to give the district discretion over whether to make masks optional.
Newhall School District Votes to Ask CDPH for More Leniency on Mask Policies
On Friday, Los Angeles County Public Health officials confirmed seven new deaths and 3,058 new cases of COVID-19, marking the third day in a row with more than 2,500 cases reported in a day.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: County Reports Over 3,000 New COVID-19 Cases for First Time Since February 13; Henry Mayo Reports Highest Hospitalizations since March
With the 2021 Tokyo Olympics getting underway, the final rosters are set and athletes across the country are ready to begin competition and represent the USA at today’s Opening Ceremony — including some of the Santa Clarita Valley’s own elite athletes.
Final Rosters for Tokyo Olympics Include a Handful of SCV Athletes
To kick off its return to service in the U.S., Princess Cruises and Holland America Line held a celebration at the Port of Seattle on Friday, July 23.
Princess Cruises and Holland America Line Kick Off Return To Service In the U.S. From Port Of Seattle
The city of Santa Clarita is calling all Recycle Heroes! The city announced it is inviting residents to participate in a citywide social media contest where residents create their own TikTok video themed after the city’s Recycle Hero campaign, which encourages residents to recycle right.
City Announces Recycle Hero TikTok Social Media Contest
1982 - Vic Morrow & two child actors killed in helicopter crash at Indian Dunes during filming of "Twilight Zone: The Movie" [story]
Twilight Zone Movie
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 13 new deaths and 2,767 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 29,192 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Thursday COVID-19 Roundup: L.A. County Sees Surge in Delta Variant; SCV Cases Total 29,192
Green Santa Clarita is excited to launch a newly redesigned website filled with valuable resources and programming for Santa Clarita residents and businesses looking to live more sustainably.
Green Santa Clarita’s Redesigned Website Offers Sustainability Resources
CSUN has named Trent Johnson Interim Head Men's Basketball Coach, the university announced Tuesday.
CSUN Names Trent Johnson Interim Head Men’s Basketball Coach
Los Angeles County Waterworks Districts will begin work to replace a water main in the unincorporated community of Val Verde (District No. 36).
Val Verde Residents Warned of Traffic Delays Due to Upcoming Water Main Project
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, has authored a motion to create a Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness that, if approved, will provide guidance and recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on reforms to solve the homelessness crisis throughout Los Angeles County.
Barger Proposes Blue-Ribbon Commission on L.A. County’s Homelessness
The Child and Family Center of Santa Clarita was one of 63 nonprofits receiving part of the $750,000 in grant awards from the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, as a part of the County's Community Impact Arts Grant (CIAG) program.
Child & Family Center Receives L.A. County Arts and Culture Grant
After several fires in the Santa Clarita Valley this past week, everyone from utility representatives to fire officials to meteorologists is reminding residents that, due to unusually dry weather during fire season, they should have their Ready! Set! Go! plans ready to go.
Residents Reminded of Wildfire Action Plan as Officials Brace for Fire Season
A Los Angeles County Fire Department captain was arrested on suspicion of assault following an altercation in Stevenson Ranch earlier this month.
LACoFD Fire Captain Arrested on Suspicion of Assault After Stevenson Ranch Altercation
Mayor Bill Miranda spoke directly with the committee recommending the transfer of violent juvenile offenders to Camps Scott and Scudder on Wednesday, saying the move required more environmental impact reports and public outreach.
Miranda Tells Camps Scott, Scudder Committee More EIRs, Public Outreach Required
SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted Wednesday the first American Indian Education Oversight Committee (AIEOC) meeting since 2017.
State Schools Chief Hosts First American Indian Education Oversight Committee Meeting Since 2017
2000 - Historic Larinan house in Pico Canyon burns down [story]
Larinan house burning
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital announced that Logix Federal Credit Union will continue to sponsor the hospital's Foundation Palliative Care Teddy Bear program. 
Henry Mayo And Logix Announces Continued Partnership In Palliative Care Teddy Bear Program
%d bloggers like this: