Fred Brito: Back In the Saddle Again

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/02/fredbrito-thumb.jpgInfamous Los Angeles conman found using an alias in New Mexico… and campaigning for John Edwards

If you don’t know the name Fred Brito, he’d like to meet you.

The last time he caught local attention was in 2005, once when he was the subject of a front page article in the LA Times about conning his way into a fundraising position there, and then two months later when it was discovered that he’d again conned his way into a similar job with the American Red Cross.

Both of these incidents just add to a lifetime as a con-artist, spending 11 years in prison over the years for grand theft and embezzlement, frequently embellishing his resume and references to obtain positions as a psychiatrist, youth counselor, and on seperate occasions as a priest, and in all cases using a new name for each sham.

Since 2005, Fred Brito has been relatively quiet. However, a recent internet search discovered that he’s recently moved to New Mexico where he’s been living under yet another assumed name.

Using the alias Federico Gomez de Maria, Brito has “created”  the New Mexico Center for Justice and Advocacy at the New Mexico State University.  Brito writes in his new blog, “I will fund this center myself until such a time that I am able to I gather like minded leaders.”

He also posts on his blog two recent glowing articles about himself. A piece in the January 12th edition of the Las Cruces Bulletin features a photo of him wearing what appears to be a UCLA baseball cap. The other, by Victoria Hayslett at NMSU’s “The Round Up” appears to have been deleted from their site. However, messages apparently posted by Brito as NMCENTER4JUSTICE and advocate4people on the Round Up News bulletin boards have numerous replies from people outing Gomez de Maria as Brito, posting the full text of a Pasadena Star News article about his firing at the American Red Cross.

After the jump, more details of Brito’s recent actvities including his support of the Edwards campaign, as well as a timeline of his exploits.

The Las Cruces Bulletin writes that “Gomez” will assist recently released prison inmates by “vouching” for them:

“If they can’t get a job, I’ll advocate for them,” he said. “I’ll talk to prospective employers and ask them to try it out for 90 days. If they steal, I’ll be responsible for what was taken. If they can’t get a job, they revert to a life of crime or fabricate their r√©sum√©s. It’s about survival.”

While nothing indicates what he’s doing is illegal, it certainly doesn’t appear that Brito is following his promises to go straight. Still, he doesn’t want to be forgotten – he continues to boast that Dateline NBC will be airing an interview done with him (more than a year after he originally made the claim). But any mention of his activities before moving to New Mexico, or his real name, Fred Brito, are non-existent on his new site.

What else has Brito been up to?

On Presidential candidate John Edwards’ website, someone using Brito’s photo and the LasCrucesAdvocate@gmail.com email address is listed as a “captain” organizing local John Edwards for President meetings. Please note that anyone can sign up on this site and become a “captain” in less than five minutes.

Brito is also apparently posting around the web, including at Online Crime Bytes, a blog dedicated to warning people about identity theft and internet crime. A “Fred Gomez” left a comment about a scam he thought was being pulled on him, which blogger Deb Radcliff picked up and dedicated an entire entry to, clearly unaware of Fred Gomez’ other aliases.

The Fred Brito Timeline

Tonya Alanez at the LA Times summarized Brito as having “spent his adult life using aliases and phony credentials
to pull off one elaborate deception after another.”

He has lied his way into jobs as a Catholic priest, a youth counselor for a foster care agency and executive director of the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California, among many others. He once convinced a judge he was a psychiatrist in order to testify in a friend’s criminal trial.

In an effort to get a grasp on Brito’s history of crime and deception, I assembled the following rundown from assorted online sources including the LA Times article.

1973-1977: After high school, Brito enlists and serves in the Marine Corp under the name Freddrick Esparza.

1977: Shortly after being discharged, Brito steals $1000 from the bank where he works as a teller. He pleads guilty, and is given four years probation. The next month, he is also caught and convicted of renting cars and not returning them.

1979: Brito breaks the terms of his parole and flees to Canada, where he is arrested for “numerous crimes, including theft of blank airline tickets and possession and use of stolen credit cards.” After eight months in jail, he is extradited to the United States and sent to a Federal Prison.

1980’s: “Brito bounced in and out of prison…by the mid-80’s he had shifted to inventing and assuming identities.” (Tanya Alvanez, LA Times)

Mid-90’s: After a few months of living with Norbertine priests in Albuqurque, NM, he is kicked out after they discover he lied about his status as a seminary student in Mexico.

January, 2002: Brito is fired from an L.A. law firm and charged with embezzling $600 after a short stint as an office manager. Before he he can be arrested, he flees to Yuma, AZ where he works as a priest known as Father B. Gomez de Esparza. One month into it, after a trip to Mexico makes a trip, he is picked up on a warrant for the embezzled $600. However…

He somehow talked his way out of the arrest — church officials say he convinced border police that it was his twin brother they were really after — and headed for Phoenix, where he passed himself off as a visiting priest at two parishes, presiding over a funeral, baptisms and quincea√±eras and saying Mass. (Tanya Alvanez, LA Times)

July 5, 2002: Brito is convicted for Grand Theft and sent to prison.

2002/2003: “Within 3 months” of being released, Brito becomes program director at A Place Called Home, a South Central youth center, using the name Father Federico Brito Gomez de Esparza, but is later fired for “personality conflicts.”

September – December 2003:
Brito is hired and then dismissed as an Executive Director at the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California. No details as to why he is no longer there, or what name he used in that position.

Summer 2004: Brito is hired as Deputy Director at the Western Law Center for Disability Rights under the name Federiqkoe DiBritto III. His employment is terminated for unknown reasons, although the Center says that his criminal history and aliases weren’t discovered until after he was gone.

October 2004:
Brito is hired by the UCLA as a fundraiser (with a $100,000 salary) for the David Geffen School of Medicine. In this position, the Daily Bruin wrote he had “access to donor records, which include donation history, addresses and contact information for various donors to the digestive diseases division.”

June 2005: After being tipped off by police, Brito is fired for falsifying his resume and arrested by campus detectives for violating terms of his parole – apparently in part for not mentioning his criminal history.

June 28, 2005: a man named “Roberto Medina, Common Citizen” posts an interview with Fred Brito on LA Voice, referring to convicted felon Brito as an “alleged felon”, boasted that Antonio Villaraigosa interrupted the interview to give Brito a hug, and referring to Brito’s life as “full of adventure”. I have not been able to track down this “Roberto Medina” for comment. This comes shortly after Fred Brito put himself on the ballot for the Cypress Park Neighborhood Council, but then removed his name.

August 14th, 2005: Only two months later, Brito lands another fundraising job with the American Red Cross (for over $60,000/year) using the name Fred Brito Gomez. When confronted with a background check detailing the criminal history of Fred Brito, he claims that “It must be some kind of identity theft” and is hired.

August 17th, 2005: The Los Angeles Times publishes a detailed profile on Fred Brito’s exploits on the front page. The following day, “debated whether to come in to work that Wednesday morning.” (LA Times, October 8, 2005) Not fired, Brito posts the full text the article on his blog.

September 16th, 2005:
After noticing questionable job performance, an executive there became suspicious of Brito’s credentials and did an internet search, turning up a recent front page LA Times article about Brito’s firing at UCLA. Brito was immediately dismissed from the Red Cross,

September 21, 2005:
Fred Brito posts an advertisment on his blog that he can be hired to “work for the other side” and help employers and law enforcement identify frauds.

March 2006: On his blog, Brito writes that he’s cleared parole.

At some point between this and the next entry, Brito deletes his blog at fredbrito.blogspot.com

February 2007: Fred Brito emerges in Las Cruces, New Mexico using the name Federico Gomez de Maria.

Additional sources: Pasadena Star News, Mayor Sam’s Sister City, LA Observed, LA Voice.

12 Replies to “Fred Brito: Back In the Saddle Again”

  1. Ah Brito, he is a real piece of work. I spent some time on a local Northeast LA email list where he was a member and his messages were always hilarious. He even had a whole shtick about “cleaning up his act” and how he was now going to help others spot people like him, yeah right. He seems to spend lots of time reading about himself, expect to get a visit here!

  2. Yes, and what a joke that El Chavo would write a post condemning Fred Brito. I know both men and Brito definitely has the edge over El Chavo when it comes to ethical behavior and honesty.

    Fred Brito has been the obsession du jour for a large number of Northeast L.A. Yahoo group members who do not have a life and, therefore, tend to obsess and stalk him. Why? For making chumps of them, I guess. Why else would David Markham stalk Brito and do this meaningless and unimportant story on him? Why does the shabby Joe Walker of NortheastLA infamy continue to stalk Brito and attempt to derail a television magazine story planned to air about him? Why does Fred Brito drive these people crazy? I, for one, find his story fascinating and, to be honest, madcap comedy. Fred even posed once as a New Mexico priest and was very popular at the Catholic chuch he tended to. This is hilarity, not a crime that warrants the death penalty. The trolls of Northeast L.A. have done everyone a disservice by focusing on Fred Brito instead of others in their midst who have gone beyond any acceptable activity; the President (“chair”) of one Northeast L.A. Neighborhood Council, is a convicted murderer, yet nobody makes the slightest peep about him or his credentials. And a Board member of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council was almost recalled last year after being overheard plotting aloud with a stakeholder about hiring a hit man to murder the council’s communications director.

    El Chavo also charades around using a number of fake names, something that he accuses others of doing all the time. He has registered under the name Tiburcio Vasquez, a Mexican bandito who terrorized California throughout the 1870s and 1880s and Chapulin Colorado, a Mexican entertainer. And, although his real name, as he asserts, might be Esteban Felix, that may not be the case since Esteban Felix is also a Salvadoran photographer. This is uproarious, yes, even IRONIC considering that El Chavo likes to attack other Northeast L.A. entities such as Alice Prado and Fred Brito and Iggy for using aliases. Everyone uses an alias, even El Chavo Beer.

    Fred Brito has proven to be a wonderful and worthwhile phenomenon in Northeast L.A. He has inspired much hilarity and mass hysteria among the bored local yahoos (no pun intended) and has unwittingly been instrumental in causing the locals to behave like peasants with pitchforks running amok in the streets in search of the Frankenstein monster in the windmill.

    Get real.

    Ken Camp, Los Angeles

  3. Ken, I appreciate your comment but your accusation of stalking is unfounded. If the Prez of the Northeast LA NC is a convicted murderer, please tell us more… sounds interesting.
    But you also fail to not that Brito’s most recent conviction of embezzlement was only a handful of years ago. He may be interesting, funny, and not evil, but I don’t understand how you can argue that people shouldn’t be warned by him. Unless you’re rooting for him to steal money for somebody else. At the very least, you seem to support his argument that its okay to lie on your resume.

  4. David Markland, you sure have balls. You know me, and I know you, but you are as phony as they come. To think that you are chasing after this brito guy is so like you, yet in your personal life you are a liar and a thief. I stayed over your house a few years back after you got me drunk and tried to have sex with me. You are the crook if anyone ever was. Plus you stole my watch and then had the nerve to deny it. I might have been drunk, but you are a sick bastard. Taking avantage of drunk people for your own sexual pleasure is a lot worse than this brito. People should be watching YOU. YOU are the freak. You have balls that is all I can say. Big F***** balls. You stupid bastard.

  5. David, your assertions regarding my motives are a bit unreal. I am not saying that people should not warn others of Fred or that it is okay to lie on your resume (ahem, about half of L.A. just got busted for that one!). But I am concerned when people allow themselves to be manipulated by sleaze-mongerers into a mass hysteria-type consciousness in which they are either drooling or wetting their pants. It would be unwise to goad me into naming the convicted murderer who is Chair of a local Northeast L.A. neighborhood council . . . because he might kill me! LOL Ask Councilman Ed Reyes or anyone in his office who this convicted murderer-turned-council president is. They know too well who he is.

    Ken Camp, Los Angeles

  6. David, a postscript here.

    Three years ago a Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council board member and his wife placed a dead animal in my mailbox due to a disagreement we had concerning the AIDS Wall in Lincoln Park. (They were opposed, I was in favor of.) This same couple also falsely accused me of stalking them, and they hired Scott Lively, extremist right wing “Christian” nutball lawyer to terrorize the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council treasurer with theats of a lawsuit simply because he supported the AIDS Wall.

    This is the type of over-the-top behavior I am concerned about, not whether someone embezzled or portrayed a priest or lied on their resume. People need to reassess their priorities.

    As for the dead-animal-in-the-mailbox routine, the perpetrators are prominent members of Sacred Heart Church in Lincoln Heights. Ask anybody there: they know who this evil couple are. Imagine: who would kill a defenseless animal just to intimidate a political opponent? What kind of monsters would do that?

    Ken Camp, Los Angeles

  7. I live in Phoenix Arizona and my husband and I are writing his life story. Due out in 2008.

    You are doing yourself a disservice by stating facts that are not correct. Had you completed and thorough investigation into the facts as we have, you will see that the Fred Brito that you know only through news clippings and here say is by far different that the one that you will see on DATELINE NBC.

    I am not going to attempt to change your mind here, however I will indicate to you that you are largely mistaken in your information and facts.

    I am sitting here with him at this moment. We can only chuckle at your lack of professionalism and failure to investigate the facts. You rely are warmed over facts from blog to blog and write as if it is all-true. How wrong is that? Your thirst to eat people up and keep people down is your largest character flaw. It shows your own lack of self worth, self esteem, and for that I am sorry for you.

    You do not know Fred Brito as we do. We have spent over two years with him and we have only finished 209 pages, and we are not half way through. This is a complex story, and all of our facts are verified and verified yet again. All that we write, as with DATELINE NBC has to be a proven fact, or we are sued. This is responsible journalism. Your brand of journalism can be found on any street corner. You are not a journalist, at least not one with any kind of respect for the art.

    You really think that people cannot read between your lines and see clearly how you ache to destroy people. That is what you do best. Destroy people and you have no sense of morals or values.

    We have been in New Mexico with Fred on and off for a long time. We are working diligently on his story, and none of your facts is accurate. It is all warmed over news from two years ago. The least you can do is discover new facts that are true and accurate.

    Your latest story about Fred and the University is a dishonest attempt to again hammer him. For the record…. Fred has never been arrested or accused of anything at the university and he is not associated in any way with the university. You state that he used fraudulent credentials. All wrong. Can you prove it? Can you make some telephone calls and prove it? You have just dug yourself a hole, as you have blasted all over the world facts that are not true, this is called Defamation and Slander. You cannot prove any of what you have stated, and that is a crime. This is the Internet. There are laws. And frankly, you have violated Fred’s rights. Yet, you have the audacity to sit there and write on and on facts that are not true. We will see. Stay tuned.

    Why not you pick up the phone and call him? His number is all over the Internet. I can tell you that he has done more for this City than you can ever dream up. He is working on redemption, and he is doing a fine job. I admire his tenacity, and courage to do all that he can to tell the truth about his story. I think you will be surprised once DATELINE comes out. You might think twice at labeling him many of the names that you have called him.

    As for his name, it has been changed legally. It is not an alias. Ask to see the court documents. I have them, and you too should investigate and get them as I have. That is responsible journalism. You see you know nothing of Fred Brito. You know only what you and your community of leeches talk about when you are seeking blood to suck out of others. Take a deep look in the mirror. Go ahead…. see what you have become. A vulture that spends hours looking for prey. Yet, you call yourself a journalist. Shame on you.

    Go ahead, pick up of the phone and call Fred Brito. Maybe it will be the first time that you will rise to the level of human being… muchless a man.

    L&M Publishing,
    Phoenix, AZ.

  8. Considering that “L&M Publishing” is writing from an email address through Anonymizer, I have no reason to believe or consider anything in the above comment is true. Additionally, a “responsible journalist”, as you claim to be, would attach their name to what they write, not a “publishing company” that I can’t find a single reference for.

    Additionally, I never said that Fred’s current activities are illegal, and in fact pointed this. Most of the facts in this piece also come from the same LA Times article that Fred has boasted about his participation in.

    If, indeed, I have written anything inaccurate, please bring it up specifically.

  9. Take a look at L. A. Observer. It all started with you. Take a look at NELA group on Yahoo. It all started with you. Take a look at The Round Up at NMSU, that also started with you. Now you have a hailstorm against my client Fred Brito. What was published in the newspaper is not entirely true, you must remember that. The only thing that I think you can place your bets on is DATELINE NBC. I am sure they are very thorough unlike you. Our book will be very thorough, unlike you. You continue to take cheap shots and I assure you… you will not be happy should you continue to step on people. Let DATELINE do their story. It will be out soon enough. Your trying to grasp the brass ring before them. It will be futile. You don’t have enough money.

    As for L&M Publishing… it is our own private company. We do not need to advertise. We have enough business and three best sellers. We do not need to prove anything to you. Just know that you have opened Pandora’s box. Now you will have to deal with it. We use all the software that we can to keep people like you away, and we will continue to do so.

    The choice is yours.

    L&M Publishing
    2/19/07 – Phoenix, AZ.

  10. Uh – are any of the anti-David comments here from anyone other than the nutball subject of the original post? ‘Cause it seems like they are all written with remarkably similar tone and language. And nutty goodness. David – anymore IP search gems?

  11. Actually, it would be libel, not slander. Any real journalist or publishing company would know the difference.

    Not to mention your spelling and grammar are quite poor for a journalist…or should that be “journalist,” L&M?

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