Pilates Instructor Charged with Grand Theft
Source: District Attorney of Santa Barbara
District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today that Yvonne Alish Castillo, 34 years old, of Santa Barbara pled to one count of Felony Grand Theft under Penal Code section 487(a). Castillo also admitted a special allegation that her theft involved an amount in excess of $65,000.00.
Castillo, a licensed physical therapist, began providing in-home Pilates classes for John Doe, an elder and Jane Doe, an elder, on February of 2013. In June of 2016, an employee of the victimsbecame suspicious of the amounts that Castillo was charging them. An attorney for the victims reviewed bank records and discovered that Castillo had charged them almost $200,000.00 for Pilates classes in a little over three years. The investigation revealed that Castillo never provided any invoices and always made sure that no one was present in the room when she received her checks from Mr. Doe who was 87 years old at the time. In 2014 alone, Castillo collected checks totaling $62,100.00. At the height of her theft, Castillo was collecting checks in excess of $7,500.00 per month. When interviewed by law enforcement, Castillo admitted to “taking advantage” of the victims. The victims provided a statement to the Probation Department where they stated that they felt violated by Castillo and that she “masqueraded as one person and behaved like a criminal. The only difference was her costume. She wore expensive Pilates pants instead of a ski mask”.
District Attorney Dudley stated, “It is particularly reprehensible that the elderly victims were taken advantage of by someone that they trusted, befriended and allowed into their home. Criminals can be total strangers or trusted acquaintances. It is important that we do all we can to protect the vulnerable members of our community”. The case was investigated by the California Department of Justice and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office. The case was prosecuted by fraud specialist, Deputy District Attorney Gary Gemberling.
Castillo will be sentenced on April 20, 2018 when she will be placed on probation for four years, ordered to pay $104,000.00 in restitution and be ordered to serve 180 days in the Santa Barbara County Jail.