Payback time: Baldi pleads guilty to embezzlement charges

James Baldi, the former restaurateur and accountant who abruptly skipped town three years ago and lived under an assumed name in San Francisco before being arrested in early January, has pleaded guilty to embezzling approximately $200,000 from his former bookkeeping clients.

While the 49-year-old Baldi could face up to 80 years in prison and thousands in fines in an agreement with prosecutors that calls for him to plead guilty to four embezzling charges in the county and a fifth in the city, at his June 11 court appearance in Albemarle County Circuit Court, Judge Cheryl Higgins suggested that Baldi may also be required to repay his victims as part of his sentence.

"He's anxious to make restitution and set things right," says Baldi's attorney, Scott Goodman, reached by phone after the hearing. "He's not trying to avoid punishment, and he knows there will be some incarceration. But when he gets out he plans to pay people back."

As first reported in the Hook, Baldi's life on the lam sounds like something out of a movie.

Living under the assumed name Dario DiSovana and working at a well-regarded Italian restaurant called Pachino Trattoria and Pizzeria on the outskirts of San Francisco's Chinatown before his arrest, sources who encountered Baldi there say he spoke with an Italian accent and claimed he was of Italian and Vietnamese descent.

What's more, sources told the Hook that he was living with Kristian Throckmorton, the now 27-year-old woman who originally fled with Baldi, and who reportedly was using the name Eliana DiSovana and working as a manager of a nearby restaurant. Sources say Baldi and Throckmorton claimed they were married and came from Canada.   

Per court records, Baldi's biggest victim locally appears to be Wood Grill Buffet, to which he owes $155,000, and then carpet- and rug-cleaning franchise Duraclean, to which he owes $23,700. Sentencing is scheduled for August.

Hook legal analyst David Heilberg suggests that Judge Higgins may choose to suspend some portion of Baldi's sentence for the victims' sakes, given that Baldi's ability to earn sufficient money for restitution is significantly hindered while he's behind bars.

Once he's out, however, "The court has quite a bit of leverage and authority to create a payment arrangement," says Heilberg, noting that the restitution plan "could include making installment payments to the victims or taking a percentage of anything he makes."

And unlike civil debts, which can be discharged through a bankruptcy filing, Heilberg says that payment of court-ordered restitution is enforced by threat of reinstating a suspended jail sentence or imposing additional fines.

Read more on: Jim Baldi


Bout time this story is about ten days late. However I did not know that he got dem boyz down @ the woodgrill buffet. That's one of my favorite hangouts. This article begs the question what will Baldi do for work once a free man? I don't think I want him doing the books for my business what other skills does he have besides embezzlement?

Begging the question is a type of informal fallacy in which an implicit premise would directly entail the conclusion. Begging the question is one of the classic informal fallacies in Aristotle's Prior Analytics. Some modern authors consider begging the question to be a version of circular reasoning.
Unfortunately, some authorities consider the use of "begs the question" as a way of saying "raises the question" or "evades the question" to be no longer mistaken because it has attained such wide usage, despite having "long been condemned by usage commentators as incorrect or sloppy"

Steal money from people, but don't go to jail, just make good investments with the loot, pay back the capital and pocket the difference. Sounds more like the city's Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports than the way they usually do things in the criminal justice system. Could it be that Baldi is really Michael Farrugio, but with an even shorter haircut? It sure looks that way.

@ Desdemona well said. You sounds so smart not like the woodgrill girls I am used to. We should maybe hangout at the buffet sometime and I could recite poetry while you feast on fried chicken? I do consider myself a modern author and don't subscribe to Aristotle's Prior Analytics. Nor do I subscribe to "some authorities" but thank you for your unconstructive criticism. The buffet offer still stands. Lemme know boo.

@really? while you may consider Desmedona's criticism to be unconstructive, it doesn't change the fact that this article doesn't actually beg the question, no matter what you believe.


Actually Desdemona it's the use of the conclusion as a premise that makes for begging the question.

"He's not trying to avoid punishment, and he knows there will be some incarceration. But when he gets out he plans to pay people back."
Ummm.. actually he's been trying for year to avoid punishment. Trying very, very hard to do just that. And he's been 'out' for years earning money, how much exactly did he send to former clients? Give him 20 years and suspend a year for every $1 he sent to his victims. Then when he gets out in two decades he can put his money where his mouth is.
And Throckmorton deserves some jail time of her own. Aiding and abetting, conspiracy, identity theft, fraud.. I'm sure something would stick.

I just want to attend the buffet with her for literary critique and golden brown fried chicken.

Good luck to his victims in ever seeing any money. Occurred to anyone that being an ex-con, there'll be a lot of people not wanting to hire him? Best thing might be to keep him out of circulation so he dosn't scam any more people.

That man sure has some puppy dog eyes. I think they beg the question what will I do when released from these chains? I sure was a purty good embezzler but I think the gig is up on that one what's next? Housekeeping, politics, reality show star? Who knows? The Baldi knows but he ain't talking/ He just begs with those big baby browns.

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