Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco, a former death penalty prosecutor who ran for office on a law-and-order ticket, vowed he would end a purported gay grifter crime spree carried out by a band of San Francisco murder suspects.
Sometime boyfriends Kaushal Niroula, 27, and Daniel Garcia, 26, along with alleged coconspirators David Replogle, 60, a San Francisco lawyer, and Russell Manning, 67, a San Francisco art broker, have been charged with capital murder in connection with the disappearance of Clifford Lambert, 74.
The four are alleged to have killed Lambert, a former art dealer who was a Palm Springs society fixture. They then allegedly emptied his bank accounts, stole his Mercedes sportscar, looted his paintings and other property, and finally attempted to fraudulently sell his $1 million home.
Niroula and Garcia had been separately sought in unrelated fraud and theft cases in Las Vegas, Marin County, and San Francisco. Lambert's early-December disappearance occurred after Niroula was able to make bail in a Marin case in which he was alleged to have stolen $300,000 worth of jewelery from a 78-year-old woman.
In a statement Monday, Pacheco -- who brags on his Web site
of sending five murderers to death row during his 10 years as a prosecutor -- seemed to accuse San Francisco Bay Area law enforcement of falling down on the job by allowing Niroula and his cohorts to remain at large despite multiple accusations involving intricate frauds involving more than $1 million.
In his Friday statement, Pacheco suggested he would pursue the San Francisco suspects with similar verve.
"These con men have skillfully manipulated their way through millions of illegally obtained dollars and have managed to avoid consequences until now," Pacheco said. "Unfortunately, Cliff Lambert isn't the first victiim of their ongoing scams to enrich themselves, but we plan on making sure he is the last."