The Los Angeles County district attorney has charged a couple with stealing thousands of dollars from people who sought to purchase cryptocurrency, the district attorney’s office announced on its website.
Authorities first charged Precious Lanay Fitzgerald with four counts of second-degree robbery, two counts of child abuse and one count of grand theft on March 19. An amended complaint filed yesterday includes two new charges of grand theft, child abuse and prior conviction allegations.
Authorities charged Lawillie Joshua Hall March 19 with two counts of second-degree robbery. The defendants, dubbed the “Discount Bitcoin Bandits,” also face gun allegations, and the charges include prior conviction allegations against Fitzgerald.
A preliminary hearing on the amended complaint has been scheduled for Wednesday at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Prosecutors are recommending bail at $570,000 for Fitzgerald and $200,000 for Hall. The pair allegedly stole $87,125 from six individuals from October to February by using online notices advertising discount bitcoins for sale, then stealing the money brought to make payments.
Fitzgerald has been accused of receiving a money transfer from one victim but never providing the promised bitcoin. In other instances, she allegedly met the prospective buyers in person and forcefully grabbed the cash they had brought. Hall allegedly used a handgun and helped Fitzgerald in at least two crimes. During some of the robberies, an infant was allegedly present.
This is not the first time that Fitzgerald has run afoul of the law. She was convicted in March 2010 for assault with a deadly weapon in addition to a case involving a firearm. She faces a possible maximum sentence of 29 years and 18 months in jail if convicted, while Hall faces as much as 19 years and four months.
John C. Weller, deputy district attorney for the cyber crime division, is prosecuting the case, which remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department’s robbery-homicide division.