ESCONDIDO, Calif. - A man suspected of trying to bilk charitable people via a bogus website soliciting monetary contributions for the family of an Escondido police officer killed in an alleged domestic shooting was in custody Thursday and facing a slate of criminal charges.
Sami Ahmed Saeed, 25, was arrested Wednesday during a search of his Escondido home, according to police.
Shortly after Officer Laura Perez died in her Murrieta home July 23 -- allegedly at the hands of her husband, 27-year-old Freddy Perez Rodas -- the Escondido Police Department began receiving reports of an apparently phony online site soliciting donations that supposedly would benefit the victim's 4-year-old daughter.
"Fortunately, the scam was discovered before any contributions were made," EPD Lt. Eric Skaja said.
Saeed, who also has been accused of being involved in several bogus fundraisers for a young cancer victim, allegedly was in possession of stolen credit cards and items used to manufacture credit and identification cards.
Saeed was booked on suspicion of fraudulent solicitation for charitable contributions, unauthorized use of personal information to obtain goods or services, commission of a felony while out on bail, attempted grand theft and possession of stolen property.
He was being held in county jail in Vista on $200,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Friday afternoon.
At the time of his arrest, he was out on bail after having been jailed on suspicion of stealing cellphones from shoppers at a local mall.
"This type of fundraising scam that aims at victimizing not only two families going through personal tragedy, but also the public wishing to assist them, is particularly heinous," Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter said.
Rodas allegedly has confessed to shooting Perez in the chest during an argument and then setting their house on fire in an attempt to cover up the crime.
A real fundraiser, sponsored by the Deputy Sheriff's Association of San Diego County, was held Thursday for Perez's four-year-old daughter.