MURRIETA (CBSLA.com) — A lawyer for a man accused of scamming a series of women he met online — sexually assaulting at least two of them, and stealing jewelry and cash from at least three others — says his client is the victim of “bad breakups.”
CBS2’s Tom Wait was in the courtroom Thursday when Andrew Hernandez came face-to-face with some of the women accusing him for the first time since he was arrested Monday.
Wait said Hernandez looked directly into the camera and sat in his orange jumpsuit during his court appearance.
“What’s most concerning is the sexual-assault crime,” said Riverside County Deputy DA Jess Walsh.
The deputy district attorney says Hernandez has five cases now pending against him, including two claims of sexual assault in which Hernandez posed as a doctor and gave women physical exams and took payment.
Other victims claim Hernandez posed as a financial analyst and defrauded them and helped himself to their money. One woman says he proposed, then took a huge chunk of her life savings.
“He established a relationship with her in the spring, proposed to her, asked for money and took that money,” Walsh said.
After court Thursday, the victims told Wait they were no longer allowed to talk to the media. But Wednesday night, two women shared their pain. Lisa Shrout says she believed Hernandez’s story that he was a doctor.
“He’s very smart. He knows what to say. It wasn’t anything that would make me think he wasn’t a doctor,” she told KCAL9’s Crystal Cruz.
Gale Williams met Hernandez online and says she gave him $100,000 after he proposed.
“I just wanted someone to love me,” she told Cruz. “I trusted him. I’m a stupid idiot. I feel really dumb.”
Hernandez’ attorney says the accusations are lies.
“He’s absolutely in shock over the whole thing. He’s known for some time these accusations have been flying around. He’s looking forward to defending his reputation,” said Joshua P. Visco.
The attorney says Hernandez is the victim of angry former lovers.
“Absolutely. This is a case of bad breakups,” Visco said.
The DA’s Office believes there are more victims out there.
Hernandez remains in jail on a $3 million bond. Wait reported if Hernandez is convicted on all the charges, he could spend rest of life behind bars.