Arnoldi and Daly sentenced in Grass Valley gold fraud case
A Grass Valley gold dealer charged with dozens of counts of possessing and selling counterfeit gold and financial elder abuse, as well as criminal conspiracy in a separate welfare fraud case involving his partner, was sentenced Friday to 13 years and four months in state prison.
Gregory Arnoldi, 46, the owner of Grass Valley Gold and Silver, was arrested at his business in the 100 block of Mill Street after alleged victims reported they purchased gold bullion bars from Arnoldi at his business. More than 35 victims — many older than 60 years old — were identified, with some making multiple purchases.
They said they discovered the bars they purchased were fake when they tried to redeem them at another dealer.
Arnoldi’s partner, Shara Elaine Daly, 44, subsequently was charged with 25 felony counts of grand theft, criminal conspiracy, perjury, fraud to obtain aid, falsifying eligibility for aid and filing false documents. She reportedly was on government assistance while working at Arnoldi’s business.
Arnoldi subsequently pleaded no contest to nine counts in return for the prison sentence. Daly pleaded no contest to three counts in return for 180 days in jail and probation.
The couple’s attorney, Greg Klein, said he empathized with the loss suffered by the victims, but argued that no one was hurt physically and that property crimes should not be punished by a sentence of longer than 10 years.
The victims in Nevada County Superior Court for the sentencing fired back, telling the judge and Arnoldi that it wasn’t just about the money.
Frank Bonomolo told Arnoldi he was a disgrace, saying, “You stole $40,000 from me … That was money I’d saved for the last 20 years, for my grandchildren’s education.”
Bonomolo, who is 70, said he is a Vietnam veteran and a cancer survivor who survives on his SSI.
“I’m not a well man, and I’m not a rich man,” Bonomolo said. “I will probably die before you get out of prison. You took my legacy for my grandchildren … You’re nothing but a common thief.”
Deputy District Attorney Jim Phillips noted that several of the victims lost a substantial part of their life savings, adding that Arnoldi’s stipulated sentence was fair, and even lenient.
Judge Candace Heidelberger agreed that the crimes impacted the victims far beyond the financial loss, and upheld the agreed-upon sentence.
She also upheld Daly’s sentence and remanded her into custody, despite Klein’s plea to allow her to possibly enter a private mental health facility or have more time to arrange for someone to take care of her 18-year-old son.
Heidelberger noted that Daly must serve 60 days in custody before applying for alternative sentencing.
A restitution hearing was held after the sentencing, with nearly $150,000 in losses by the victims — with amounts ranging from as little as $20 to more than $21,000 — found to not be in question. Questions arose as to claims by a handful of victims, including a claimed loss by Bonomolo of nearly $40,000 and a claim of $187,500 by another victim. Heidelberger took several of those claims under submission and will issue a ruling at a later date.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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