Match Group Inc. settles lawsuit
Match Group Inc., owner of dating sites including Match.com, PlentyofFish, OkCupid and Tinder, is paying $2 million in civil penalties and costs in addition to victim restitution in the settlement of a consumer protection lawsuit.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced the settlement Thursday. Her office was one of the district attorney’s offices that filed the lawsuit as part of the California Auto Renewal Task Force.
The lawsuit alleged that Match’s subscription service violated provisions of California’s Automatic Renewal and Dating Service Contract laws.
The task force also alleged Match’s sign-up prompts didn’t clearly disclose the service automatically renews. It also alleged that the cancelation process was unclear and tedious.
Match denied these allegations.
“California’s automatic renewal laws are intended to protect consumers from hidden and unanticipated recurring charges and to ensure that consumers are able to quickly and easily cancel automatically-renewing subscriptions,” District Attorney Dudley said in a news release. “Companies that violate these laws harm consumers by preventing consumers from making informed choices about how to spend their money.
“The Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office and its CART colleagues will continue to hold companies accountable when they violate these important consumer protection laws.”
Match has changed its disclosures and processes in an effort to comply with California’s Automatic Renewal and Dating Service Contract laws.
— Annelise Hanshaw
Resident arrested for human trafficking
SANTA MARIA —Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s detectives from the special investigations bureau arrested Raymond Carnell Crandell, 31, of Santa Maria after a three-year human-trafficking investigation.
The investigation began in March 2019, and detectives reported they have uncovered multiple victims of human trafficking, allegedy by the suspect.
The district attorney’s office issued a felony complaint warrant for Mr. Crandell this May. He also had an outstanding drug-related warrant from Los Angeles County.
Detectives located the suspect Wednesday in Los Angeles and arrested him while he was in a hotel room with an 18-year-old woman, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Detectives believe he was trying to recruit the woman for prostitution.
Mr. Crandell is held in a Los Angeles County Jail pending the completion of his court process in Los Angeles. Then he will be transferred to the Santa Barbara County Jail.
Bail is set at $1 million and includes one count of human trafficking a minor (felony), seven counts of pimping (felony) and seven counts of pandering (felony).
Sheriff’s detectives believe there are additional victims, including juveniles, allegedly contacted by Mr. Crandell in person or through social media.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Joshua Cockrell at email@example.com or 805-681-4105.
A booking photo will be available once Mr. Crandell is transferred to the Santa Barbara County Jail.
The Sheriff’s Office offers resources to survivors of sexual assault, regardless of willingness to participate in the investigation. Victim advocates are available as well.
Survivors may contact the Victim-Witness Assistance Program directly at 805-568-2400 or toll-free at 855-840-3232.
Support services are also available through Standing Together to End Sexual Assault, based in Santa Barbara. Its phone number is 805-564-3696. Its website is sbstesa.org.
— Annelise Hanshaw
Sheriff’s Office arrests catalytic converter theft suspects
CARPINTERIA — Patrol deputies arrested three suspects early Thursday morning on suspicion of stealing catalytic converters.
A witness heard the sound of a saw grinding metal and called the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office in suspicion a theft was occurring.
Deputies located a vehicle matching the description and found three occupants, two catalytic converters, two reciprocating saws and two car jacks inside the vehicle.
Los Angeles residents Rufino Garcia-Vasquez, 39; Gustavo Pineda-Duran, 37 and Samuel Gallegos-Espinoza, 34, are at the Santa Barbara County Jail with charges of possession of stolen property (felony), grand theft (felony), conspiracy (felony) and possession of burglary tools (felony).
Mr. Pineda-Duran faces an additional charge of possession of a controlled substance (misdemeanor), and Mr. Gallegos-Espinoza is charged with driving without a license (misdemeanor).
The suspects are held on $1 million bail.
“We would like to thank the community member for calling to report this crime and for providing a vehicle description and direction of travel,” said Lt. Butch Arnoldi, who serves as the chief of police in Carpinteria, which contracts with the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement. “This is a great example of community awareness that resulted in the successful apprehension of suspects who often slip away undetected.”
— Annelise Hanshaw