Bradford R. Fenocchio
PLACER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
10810 Justice Center Drive, Suite 240
Roseville, California 95678
For Immediate Release
Date: January 13, 2010
Public Information Officer
Assistant District Attorney
THREE-STRIKER IS SENTENCED TO 54 YEARS TO
LIFE FOR EXTORTION CRIMES IN ROSEVILLE
A 51-year-old man ran out of chances today when a Placer County judge cited his lengthy criminal history, which includes a murder, and sentenced him to 54 years to life in state prison for a recent trial conviction for extorting two Roseville businesses.
Raymond Richard Whitall, a three-strike offender who worked a scheme in which he posed as a Cal-OSHA inspector to extort thousands of dollars from owners of small businesses throughout California, was given the sentence by Superior Court Judge Charles Wachob.
Prior to his conviction by a jury in Placer County, Whitall had been convicted in Fresno County for a similar extortion scheme and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, meaning that he now has sentences totaling 79 years to life.
In addition, attorneys at today’s sentencing noted that Whitall was already on probation for a Monterey County conviction in which a judge gave him a suspended sentence of 18 years in prison. A finding that he violated probation there could increase his aggregate sentence to 97 years to life.
Prosecutor Stephanie Macumber of the Placer County District Attorney’s Office argued for the 54-years-to-life sentence, telling the judge that Whitall has been in and out of the criminal justice system for most of his adult life and that he’s done nothing to rehabilitate himself.
“He’s been violating people for most of his life,” Macumber said. “This defendant is precisely the type of defendant that the three strikes law is designed for. He is a predator.”
In a written statement filed with the court, Macumber noted that Whitall was convicted in 1979 for second-degree murder in the shooting of another man. He also has a history of fraud, theft, sex crimes and probation violations, she wrote.
Last October, a Placer County jury convicted Whitall of felony extortion committed on two businesses in Roseville.
On Feb. 6, 2007, Whitall, wearing a badge and posing as a state health and safety inspector, walked into a Mexican-food restaurant, inspected the premises and told the owners he’d found numerous violations that would cost them thousands of dollars to correct.
He told the owners he would not file a violations report if he was given $1,000 in cash. The owners, fearing they might lose their business, paid him.
Four days later, Whitall pulled the same scam on a café on Vernon Street. The owner gave him $100 and Whitall hurriedly left as several customers demanded to see more identification from him.
Macumber wrote that similar reports about a phony Cal-OSHA inspector extorting money from restaurants were received in at least nine other counties in the state and that Whitall was believed to be the suspect in all of them.
“It appears that the defendant was targeting restaurant owners for whom English may not be their primary language and who the defendant believed he could easily manipulate into paying him money in lieu of ‘fines,’” Macumber wrote.
Prior to being sentenced today, Whitall, through his attorney, asked Judge Wachob to rescind his two previous felony strikes because the strikes may not have been properly applied in his cases.
In addition, the amount of prison time being sought in the Roseville conviction, 54 years to life, seemed unreasonable considering that only $1,100 was taken from the victims, Whitall’s attorney said.
However, Wachob denied the request and agreed with the prosecutor that Whitall has “a long trail of crime” over the past 30 years.
“There are property crimes, theft, violence,” Wachob said.
And Whitall’s posing as a Cal-OSHA inspector involved “calculated schemes to prey on vulnerable, non-English speaking victims,” he said.
After the sentencing, Whitall was returned to Folsom Prison, where he is incarcerated for his Fresno County conviction.