Ex-councilman admits to stealing from mother
Union Tribune (2008-09-11) Ray Huard
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By Ray Huard
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
September 11, 2008
Former El Cajon City Councilman Charles Emmet Santos has pleaded guilty to stealing money from his ailing mother, who has since died.
Santos, 46, pleaded guilty Tuesday in El Cajon Superior Court to one felony count of grand theft and will be placed on probation for 18 months under the terms of a plea agreement, Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood said.
In exchange for the guilty plea, Greenwood said he dropped five other felony charges, including caretaker theft from an elder and forgery.
According to a civil suit filed by his family, Santos took out loans on his mother's Sandalwood Drive house of more than $160,000. The civil suit was dismissed in May.
Santos' 88-year-old mother, Grace, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease/dementia, according to court records. She died in September 2007.
Santos was criminally charged with stealing money from his mother between July 7, 2004, and Sept. 10, 2006.
Probation terms will likely require Santos to enroll in a rehabilitation program, prosecutor Greenwood said outside the court room. He said details would be made public at a Dec. 1 sentencing hearing.
Santos also will be required to repay to his mother's estate any money he took, Greenwood said.
If Santos completes probation, the charge to which he pleaded guilty will be reduced to a misdemeanor under the plea agreement outlined in court by Judge Peter C. Deddeh.
Santos faced a maximum sentence of four years in prison if he went to trial and was convicted of all counts, Greenwood said. He said probation was a fair sentence because Santos has no prior criminal record.
Appointed to the El Cajon City Council to fill a vacancy in 1998, Santos was elected two years later and served six years. He lost his seat in 2004 to Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox.
Santos ran for mayor in 2006 and said at the time that his only job was working as a caretaker for his mother. He said then that he wanted to get into business and real estate investment.
Ray Huard: (619) 593-4953; email@example.com