MARTINEZ, CA — Mark A. Peterson, District Attorney of Contra Costa County, announces that on October 15, 2014, a grand jury voted to indict defendant Charles Waldo with nine counts of solicitation to commit murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. The indictment alleges that while serving time in custody at the Martinez Detention Facility, the defendant solicited and conspired with other inmates to arrange the killing of nine different witnesses that were set to testify against him at an upcoming trial. These ten new charges will be added to the fifty charges the defendant currently faces.
“Protecting witnesses and victims is central to maintaining the integrity of the criminal justice system” said Mr. Peterson. “Our office will aggressively pursue anyone who attempts to thwart the orderly administration of justice.”
The investigation of Mr. Waldo began when the Auto Insurance Fraud Unit of the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office received information about a fraudulent auto insurance claim related to an automobile arson.
With the assistance of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, the investigation expanded and soon involved multiple fraudulent insurance claims related to the arson’s and vandalism’s of five cars over a five year period. The loss from these fraudulent claims exceeds $100,000 dollars.
The investigation also uncovered a series of crimes that occurred at a local business. Mr. Waldo had worked at the business and eventually talked the owner into making him the manager. Once he was in charge of the business it is alleged that Mr. Waldo embezzled over $100,000 dollars from the business and that he stole property from the business, including a $38,000 generator.
As the manager, Waldo was able to force out other employees and replace them with his associates. He directed these associates to commit additional crimes while working for the company such as the theft of recyclable metals and the theft of an electrical transformer.
He also had his associates help construct a 2000 square foot addition to his Pittsburg, CA home. This work occurred while his associates were being paid by, and supposed to be working for, the victim company.
Investigators from the California Department of Insurance established that Waldo was also committing Workers’ Compensation Insurance fraud and tax code violations.
Investigators from the Employment Development Department discovered that Mr. Waldo claimed unemployment insurance benefits for a year after being fired from the victim business. Mr. Waldo claimed these benefits despite the fact that he had secured other employment.
Additional crimes on the original case include:
- Multiple counts of felony vandalism: The investigation showed that after being fired from his job, Mr. Waldo drove to the location of the business, and to the homes of several employees, where he punctured the tires of all the large commercial trucks that were crucial to the operation of the business.
- Brandishing a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm;
- Violating a restraining order;
- A high speed chase through central Contra Costa County;
The new allegations came to light when a witness was alerted that a “hit” had been put out on him. The District Attorney’s office promptly started an investigation which led to two witnesses and one document. The document was a hit list that included nine names, the order in which they were to be killed, and suggested methods by which the murders were to occur. The methods included staged car accidents, drug overdoses and robberies that had “gone bad”.
The defendant will be arraigned on these new charges on October 17th. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 25 years to life in jail.
Information and photo provided by Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office