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Couple Pleads Not Guilty in City Treasurer Extortion Case

Two individuals accused of allegedly extorting Hermosa city treasurer David Cohn after a massage entered the plea Monday morning.

Two individuals accused of extorting Hermosa Beach city treasurer David Cohn pleaded not guilty in court Monday morning to felony extortion charges.

Yuritsi Garcia and Gustavo Ceron, who allegedly stole Cohn's iPad following a massage and then extorted him for money to get it back, both entered their pleas during an arraignment at the Torrance courthouse.

During the arraignment, Judge Steven Van Sicklen also served Garcia with a protective order preventing her from contacting Cohn by any means or being within 100 yards of him.

At a Dec. 17 pre-trial hearing, Cohn denied that a nude massage he received from Garcia during the Nov. 3 incident led to any sexual activity. However, Hermosa Beach detective Joe Poelstra testified that Garcia told him that she attempted to give Cohn a "happy ending" during the massage.

Garcia is currently free after posting bail while Ceron remains jailed.

Judge Van Sicklen scheduled a trial date of Feb. 25 and a pre-trial date of Jan. 10 for the case.

Joel Cooper January 04, 2013 at 03:24 PM
The City's inaction on this issue is disgusting, Cohn has demonstrated gross mismanagement of his personal life, the fact that he refuses to acknowledge any unethical behavior shows a very troubling lack of maturity. Leadership entails risk management, the City of Hermosa Beach cannot afford the risk of allowing someone who could obviously benefit from psychotherapy to continue handling the peoples money. The time has come to set friendship and personal agendas aside and put an end to this embarrassment.Where is the leadership?
Guy January 06, 2013 at 06:30 AM
Well, anyone is considered innocent until proven guilty. Even if everything indicates that he might be guilty. A leave of absence until that case has been resolved either way might be a good idea though.
Joe Burke January 06, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Guy,It's misguided,wrong,poor judgement, unethical,etc. not to mention stupid, for a City treasurer to engage in anything that might lead to a situation this individual now finds himself in. Legality has nothing to do with it. Is it illegal to find someone on Craigslist, go to their house for a massage and not " remember " if you or your masseuse said any thing of a sexual nature? Absolutely not.Is it illegal to invite this person into your home,strip naked and not realize that they too are naked, say " I'm afraid where this is going " only to then make another appointment? Don't think legal, illegal. Rather, think right, wrong, smart, stupid, common sense or lack of. It becomes a question of character. A person of such poor judgement is not mentally fit to be handling our money.
H. Schwartz January 06, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Consider this then,There are at least five licensed massage studios with certified professional massage therapists in the 1.3 square mile city of Hermosa Beach.All about fifty dollars per hour. Our Treasurer chose to drive to Maywood ( East L.A.) to patronize a 26 yr.old unlicensed masseuse from Craig's List for sixty five dollars per hour. He could he have patronized a local business, probably walked there, and saved fifteen dollars! Doesn't manage his own money very well does he ?

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