Plea agreement accepted in counterfeit gold case
The Grass Valley gold dealer who has been 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, has accepted a plea agreement that would send him to state prison for 13 years and four months.
But because Gregory Arnoldi needs to sign six plea forms for his six separate criminal cases, which had not yet been filled out as of late in the court calendar Thursday, the matter was postponed until this morning.
Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Jim Phillips — stepping in as the prosecutor in Arnoldi’s cases after the abrupt resignation of Assistant District Attorney Glenn Jennings last week — noted that Arnoldi could potentially change his mind overnight.
“We have a date for the preliminary hearing (into the evidence),” Phillips said Thursday. “If he doesn’t want to take responsibility tomorrow, we’ll be ready for our day in court.”
Arnoldi, 46, the owner of Grass Valley Gold and Silver, was arrested at his business in the 100 block of Mill Street in late February after several alleged victims reported they purchased $175,500 worth of gold bullion bars from Arnoldi at his business.
The alleged victims said they discovered the bars they purchased were fake when they tried to redeem them at another dealer.
More than 35 alleged victims — many older than 60 years old — have been identified, with some making multiple purchases.
Arnoldi also has been charged with a count of tax evasion.
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 for her husband’s business.
A package deal was made to Arnoldi and Daly and both would have to accept it; Daly would face probation and 180 days in jail.
Defense attorney Greg Klein noted in Nevada County Superior Court Thursday that both Arnoldi and Daly were accepting the plea agreements, but said he did not have time to have the forms completed before the end of the day.
Phillips opted not to allow Daly and Arnoldi to make pleas on separate days.
“We’re convinced (Arnoldi’s) wife has significant culpability,” he said after court. “If he goes to trial, then she should stand trial next to him.”
The multiple cases against Arnoldi were being prosecuted by Jennings, whose departure leaves the position of second in command at the District Attorney’s office in limbo.
Jennings also was the prosecutor in the attempted murder case involving Alan Sorensen, the man who allegedly attacked Mary Grace Tassone; Sorensen has been deemed not mentally competent and proceedings have been suspended.
District Attorney Cliff Newell said Thursday that “we have the depth and breadth (in this office) to cover the caseload for a short period of time,” until he starts the recruiting process.
Bail set at $1 million in attempted murder case
A judge has set bail at $1 million for the woman accused of attempted murder in a North San Juan shooting Tuesday.
Martha McCary, 58, was arrested after she reportedly shot another woman in the abdomen and the arm with a .32-caliber pistol.
According to dispatch reports, the incident stemmed from an ongoing property dispute between family members.
The victim sustained what were reported to be superficial gunshot wounds and opted against medical treatment at that time.
Dennis Frank McCary, 62, reportedly fled with the weapon in a Jeep, but was subsequently detained.
He told deputies he dropped the gun off nearby but it was recovered. Dennis McCary was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory and booked and released on $10,000 bail.
Martha McCary has been charged with attempted murder, criminal threats, assault with a firearm and discharge of a firearm with gross negligence.
In court Thursday, Deputy Public defender Jody Schutz argued for a low bail, citing her age and lack of criminal history.
Deputy District Attorney Jim Phillips, however, told Judge Linda Sloven the alleged victim and suspect are neighbors, and there would be a substantial risk to public safety considering their close proximity.
Sloven noted that the bail schedule for murder is no bail and that she believes attempted murder also is a no-bail charge.
But, she said she would take the defendant’s lack of criminal history into account, and set bail at $1 million — an amount that drew an eruption from Dennis McCary, who was escorted from the courtroom.
Martha McCary is set to return to court Nov. 5.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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