A 54-year-old Palm Desert man is being prosecuted on criminal charges for allegedly posing as an Indian Wells property owner to get free tickets to the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament and discounts at a golf club.
Michael Capizzi pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday to one felony count each of grand theft and burglary and one misdemeanor count each of petty theft and alteration of official records, stemming from alleged crimes last Dec. 20, according to court records.
He was arrested March 18 and is free on a $5,000 bond.
According to Riverside County sheriff's Lt. Coby Webb, Capizzi is accused of modifying a copy of a grant deed to show he owned property in the 46000 block of Arapahoe Circle in Indian Wells.
"His motive for creating the fictitious document was to acquire a city of Indian Wells property owner identification card, and subsequently receive free admission tickets to the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament and discounted green fees at the Indian Wells Golf Resort," Webb alleged earlier.
Capizzi received two suite tickets, four loge-level tickets and a parking pass for the tennis tournament after showing the property owner card at Indian Wells City Hall, Webb said. The criminal complaint alleges that Capizzi defrauded the city of $950 in tournament tickets.
"Additionally, Capizzi played 11 rounds of golf at the Indian Wells Golf Resort for the $35 resident rate, instead of the $115-$185 rate he should have paid," the lieutenant alleged.
Capizzi finished a three-year probationary term in March after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor property fraud charge in 2011, according to court records.
He is due back in court on the current charges on Aug. 1.
--City News Service