SANTA BARBARA – On February 20, 2018, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney announced that Yvonne Alish Castillo, 34, of Santa Barbara pleaded guilty to one count of felony grand theft after it was discovered that she charged an elderly couple, one of whom was 87 years old at the time, nearly $200,000 for Pilates classes over a three-year time period
“This is an appalling case of theft in which a licensed physical therapist provided in-home Pilates classes for an elderly couple and stole an exorbitant amount of money from them by charging an insane amount for her services,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Thankfully there is a Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse within the California Department of Justice in which cases like this can be investigated.”
Castillo admitted to a special allegation that her theft involved an amount of more than $65,000. Castillo conducted private in-home classes for the couple beginning in February of 2013. In June of 2016, an employee of the victims became suspicious of the amounts of money that Castillo was charging the couple. An attorney for the couple reviewed bank records and discovered that Castillo had charged them nearly $200,000 for Pilates classes. 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 the male victim. At the height of her theft, Castillo was collecting checks in excess of $7,500 a month.
Following the discovery of the theft, the victims stated 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.”
The case was investigated by the California Department of Justice and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.
Castillo is scheduled for sentencing on April 20, 2018. She is expected to serve six months in jail, four years of probation and pay a restitution of $104,000.