Victims in Sandoval case must file complaints by July 6

Leticia Sandoval, 44 of Gilroy, was arrested and charged with 14 felonies, including grand theft and securities fraud.

GILROY—Victims of Leticia Sandoval, a woman accused of swindling hundreds of thousands from Gilroy Hispanics, have until July 6 to submit complaints to Santa Clara County Superior Court in order to put a stop to her federal court bankruptcy and the automatic cancellation of all of her debts, even those acquired through alleged criminal activity.
Sandoval, 44, owned a downtown Gilroy business where prosecutors say she scammed dozens of South Bay Hispanics—many who speak limited to no English—out of more than $250,000, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
The director of a Gilroy advocacy group that helped organize the fight against Sandoval by her many victims said he estimates Sandoval pocketed nearly $650,000.
The Gilroy woman is currently in jail on $1 million bail and faces 14 felony counts of grand theft, first-degree burglary and securities fraud. If convicted of all charges, she faces 20 years and four months in prison.
Dozens of more than 55 victims of her swindles are seeking retribution through the American justice system, and they want their money back.
“(Restitution) is not like getting money out of a cash machine. It’s excruciatingly slow,” said Gilroy attorney Joseph Thompson, who is representing many of the victims—all who lost money to Sandoval after giving her cash to transfer to their family in Mexico.
In order for Sandoval’s debts to stand, even those to victims like Crecenio Roque who gave the woman $10,000 to transfer to his family in Mexico but never saw a dollar, her creditors must submit a complaint urging her debts not be discharged to Superior Court by July 6.
Absent a Superior Court ruling in favor of the victims, all of Sandoval’s debts will be cancelled if the bankruptcy goes through, Thompson said.
And despite some initial hesitation on part of some victims to challenge Sandoval due to her threats of retaliation, they’re seeking their vengeance through the legal process.
“Debtors have rights but creditors have remedies,” Thompson added. “(The courts have said) relief is for the honest debtor, and not to be there to allow criminals to perpetrate their crimes.”
At a meeting last month for victims to discuss the case, many said Sandoval threatened them with countersuits if they tried to get their money back. She even threatened one woman she’d have her and her family deported.
The victims realize it will be an uphill battle to recover any money from Sandoval, but they don’t want anyone else to fall prey to her schemes.
“I’m pretty sure we’re not going to get the money back,” said one woman whose mother gave Sandoval $28,000—her life’s savings—to transfer to Mexico. “I told my mother that. I just want justice for the people. She took advantage of people who cannot defend themselves.”