Paso Robles restaurant owner charged with defrauding elderly woman
February 7, 2014
The owner of Robert’s Restaurant and Wine Bar in Paso Robles is accused of stealing a 17-acre Templeton property from a 99-year-old woman. [KSBY]
Restaurant owner Robert Clouston was arraigned in San Luis Obispo Superior Court Thursday on felony fraud charges. Court documents accuse Clouston, who pleaded not guilty, of committing theft, embezzlement, forgery and identity theft of a 99-year-old woman.
The criminal complaint states that in June 2008 Clouston removed the 17-acre parcel from a trust he jointly owned with the elderly woman and placed it in an LLC without her knowledge. Clouston has sole ownership of the LLC.
The woman learned of the property transfer in November 2011 when a San Luis Obispo County Tax Assessor’s Office worker said that a reappraisal occurred due to the transfer.
After the transfer, Clouston allegedly took out two hard money loans against the property. He first borrowed $425,000 against the property to pay off bills and development fees. He then took out more than $500,000 and spent it on his own business ventures, according to the complaint.
Clouston claimed in court Thursday that the trust agreement granted him the authority to make the transactions.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for March 18.