VENTURA — A Ventura County jury on Friday found a stripper and her cohort guilty of attempted extortion for a botched shakedown of a 72-year-old admirer.
Robin Goebel, 30, faces a four-year prison term and accomplice Louis Ottilo, 57, faces a 13-year term when they are sentenced Dec. 6.
Each was convicted of attempted extortion with a handgun. Ottilo, a part-time liquor store clerk and Canyon Country resident, faces a harsher sentence because he handled the weapon.
The two would-be shakedown artists admitted to the plot during their four-day trial, but contended that they used a fake gun in an attempt to steal $80,000 from Joseph Nakashima of Gardena earlier this year. Had the jury believed that argument, the two would face less severe sentences.
But the jury rejected that defense after deliberating for nearly two days in a case Deputy Dist. Atty. Audry Rohn dubbed a "bad B-movie."
"The argument that a fake gun was used added a sense of sophistication [to the scheme] that was not there," juror Roger Fulton said. "I thought there was no common sense in any of the three parties."
Neither defendant showed emotion when the verdict was read, while Nakashima sat impassively in the gallery.
Nakashima met Goebel at the Jetstrip Cabaret near Los Angeles International Airport, where she has danced under the stage name Bobbi for 3 1/2 years. Workers at the club said Nakashima visited the club regularly and quickly displayed a fondness for Goebel, whom he tipped and paid extra for performing private nude dances on his bar table.
Nakashima, a widower and retired warehouse worker, said that he struck up a 15-month relationship with her and that during that time he lent her $56,000, which has never been repaid. She said she needed $20,000 of the money to pay off an abusive boyfriend and another $5,600 for a breast implant operation.
Goebel said she needed the rest of the money to pay her bills and support her twin 6-year-old sons.
Nakashima testified that the two had never had sex, but that they would exchange massages and Goebel would bare her breasts for him. He testified that he loved Goebel, believed she loved him and that the two talked of marriage.
On Feb. 16, Goebel called Nakashima to her Simi Valley apartment under the guise of a belated Valentine's Day celebration. As the pair sat on the couch, Ottilo, 57, burst through the door and pointed a gun at the two. Ottilo demanded that Nakashima pay him $80,000--his retirement savings--or Goebel would be harmed by Ottilo. He also displayed a knife and threatened to cut Goebel's breast.
After Nakashima tried to withdraw $40,000 from his Torrance bank later that day, a suspicious teller contacted police.
"I think she [Goebel] saw how easy it was to get $20,000 from him [Nakashima], that the two figured they would have no problem [getting the $80,000]," juror Jeff Kabey said, recalling the loan to allegedly rid Goebel of an abusive boyfriend.
Both defendants declined comment after the verdicts were read and remained free on bail until their sentencing. Nakashima read a brief statement, saying he wanted to "get on with my life." He refused to answer questions outside the courtroom.
James Wallace, the manager of the Jetstrip club, said in an interview Friday that he would not rehire Goebel because of the conviction. She took a leave of absence after her arrest in February, Wallace said.
"We run a very respectable nude club," Wallace said.