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California Briefing / Santa Ana

Man skips out on ninth day of trial

March 06, 2009|Susannah Rosenblatt

Police are searching for a convicted felon with a record of police battery who fled his own fraud trial Tuesday.

Mark Thomas Georgantas, 46, of Tustin was found guilty of using stolen credit card information to buy parts and make payments for his fireplace product business, Fire on Ice.

Orange County prosecutors said he skipped out on the ninth day of his trial under the guise of using the restroom.

Though he vanished Tuesday, he was convicted in absentia the next day.

In January 2006, Georgantas was arrested in a Costa Mesa hotel lobby on a probation violation in another business fraud case, prosecutors said.

At that time, authorities discovered Georgantas' briefcase was filled with stolen credit card information; he also had a gun in his possession.

Georgantas punched the officer who arrested him, giving the officer a black eye. He was convicted of battery and gun charges in 2006 and served eight months in jail.

Authorities consider Georgantas dangerous and a $1-million warrant has been issued for his arrest. He faces a maximum of three years and eight months in prison.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call police.

-- Susannah Rosenblatt

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