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California Briefing

Oxnard

Man charged in business swindle

September 15, 2009|Raja Abdulrahim

A Camarillo man employed by a fire protection business was charged with impersonating a fire investigator and swindling businesses, Oxnard fire officials said.

Fernando Castillo allegedly targeted mostly small and immigrant-owned businesses, representing himself as an Oxnard fire marshal and threatening to close the businesses down if the fire extinguishers were not immediately serviced, said Rod Thorp, Oxnard deputy fire marshal.

Castillo, an employee of American Fire Protection, was arrested after the Oxnard fire and police departments began an investigation into business complaints about him. In some cases, he didn't represent himself as a marshal but was aggressive in pushing his company's services, Thorp said.

In July, the company's state license was suspended for questionable business practices. Castillo could not be reached for comment.

-- Raja Abdulrahim

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