|For Immediate Release
March 5, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
FELON WITH RECORD FOR BATTERING POLICE OFFICER CONVICTED IN ABSENTIA OF CREDIT CARD FRAUD AFTER FLEEING DURING TRIAL
* District Attorney is asking for public’s help in locating the defendant. Booking photo is available upon request.
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney is asking for the public’s help in locating a felon who fled during trial and was convicted in absentia of fraud for using stolen credit card information to further his fireplace-parts business. Georgantas is considered dangerous because he has a prior conviction for battering a police officer. Mark Thomas Georgantas, 46, Tustin, was found guilty by a jury yesterday, March 4, 2009, of one felony count of the unlawful use of personal identifying information, one felony count of acquiring access card account information, one felony count of receiving stolen property, and one felony count of grand theft. A $1 million warrant has been issued for his arrest. Georgantas faces a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in state prison. A sentencing date has been set for March 27, 2009, in Department C-44, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Georgantas is a part-owner of a Santa Fe Springs company, Fire on Ice, which manufactures fireplace products. Between Dec. 16, 2005, and Jan. 10, 2006, Georgantas used stolen credit card information belonging to other people to sustain his business by purchasing parts to build products for his company and making payments on invoices for company answering services.
In January 2006, the defendant was arrested in a Costa Mesa hotel lobby on a warrant for violating probation on another criminal case related to the fraudulent sale of business franchises. At the time of his arrest, Georgantas was in possession of a briefcase full of stolen credit card information belonging to other people, which led to the investigation and charges in this case. The defendant struck the arresting officer, giving the officer a black eye. He was also in possession of a gun. Georgantas pleaded guilty on May 24, 2006, to possession of a firearm by a felon, resisting an officer, and battery on a peace officer (Case # 06HF0063). He was sentenced to 240 days in jail in that case.
The most recent trial against Georgantas for grand theft and use of stolen credit cards lasted 10 days. After lunch on March 3, 2009, the ninth day of trial, Georgantas asked the court to use the restroom prior to resuming the People’s closing arguments. After leaving the courtroom, Georgantas fled the Central Justice Center and did not return for the conclusion of his trial. The Honorable John Conley issued a $1 million warrant for Georgantas’ arrest and resumed closing arguments in the trial without the defendant being present. Georgantas was convicted yesterday, March 4, 2009, in absentia.
As this defendant has been convicted of battery against a police officer, he is considered dangerous. Anyone with additional information about Georgantas’ whereabouts is asked to contact the police.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Doug Brannan of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.