“Landscape scammer” plea hearing continued

After pruning John Herren's trees on El Dorado Drive in Gilroy, the alleged pruning scammer left his the branches and his equipment without ever returning to finish the job.

For the third time, the plea hearing was continued for the man who allegedly charmed multiple South County seniors into giving him money for landscaping services he never completed.

Michael Oliveira, 43 of Gilroy, faces up to 14 years in jail for 13 counts of petty theft and eight counts of misdemeanor elder fraud. The defense has asked for more time to evaluate the case before Oliveira enters a plea. 

Oliveira was arrested July 21 in Gilroy, one month after the District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation into the 18 reports from Gilroy and Morgan Hill residents who claimed they were scammed by a “charming” middle-aged man trolling for money under the guise of an independent landscaper.

Oliveira was released from custody in July after posting a $25,000 bail.

He is scheduled to enter a plea Jan. 24 at the South County Courthouse in Morgan Hill. 

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