September 14, 2012

Defraud/Check Scam ARREST: More Victims Possible

The Santa Cruz Police Department is leading an investigation to a widespread defrauding and check scam by suspect Patrick Aki. Mr. Aki was arrested by Santa Cruz Police on Monday, September 10.  

Police investigators believe that Mr. Aki was the primary organizer of the Santa Cruz Dive Expo originally planned at the Santa Cruz Harbor but eventually held at the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf on 7/7/2012. Mr. Aki billed the Expo as a fundraiser for O'Neill's Sea Odyssey youth program, however, Mr. Aki never provided any of the promised funds to the non-profit. Mr. Aki used checks from a closed account to pay for the permits for this event. In addition, Mr. Aki failed to pay several local businesses for services and products they had provided for this event believing it was a fundraiser for the non-profit. It was due in part to the diligence of the O'Neill's Sea Odyssey staff after the event had occurred that provided key information leading to Mr. Aki's arrest.

Investigators also found that Mr. Aki wrote checks from the closed account to purchase a truck from a local Santa Cruz County car dealership and possibly a car dealership in Washington State. Mr. Aki owns a business called Latitude Expeditions that is based in Washington State.

Due to the extent of the local scam investigators believe there may be additional local victims. Police also believe that Mr. Aki may be involved in scams, generally dive related, outside of Santa Cruz County although the information is preliminary at this time.

Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact SCPD Detective DeOcampo at 831.420.5832 or leave a tip on our website or mobile apps. 

Patrick Barry Aki - 40 years-old - Santa Cruz County Resident