An Indio judge lowered to $500,000 the bail for a Palm Desert woman charged with stealing tens of thousands of dollars from dozens of business owners for table-top advertising she never delivered.
Bail had been set at $1 million for Theresa Marie Darrah, who has been in custody at the Riverside County jail in Indio since her arrest Jan. 6. Darrah, 49, pleaded not guilty on Jan. 9 to 18 counts of grand theft, 18 counts of second-degree burglary, five counts of first-degree burglary, and one misdemeanor charge each of petty theft and possessing a fake identification for the purpose of committing forgery.
The allegations date back to 2011, when prosecutors say Darrah, doing business as DMT Sales, told business owners across the Coachella Valley that she would put their ads on tabletops at popular local restaurants, like Beer Hunter and Mario’s.
In many cases, Darrah would accept post-dated checks from business owners who couldn’t afford the full cost up front, then immediately cash the checks, investigators alleged in court documents.
The victims, who number nearly 40, claim they never received the advertising they were promised. In fact, investigators said, interviews found that Darrah had not worked with Beer Hunter or Mario’s in many years, but that she continued to use their names to induce new clients to buy advertising.
During a hearing Jan. 9, Darrah, dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit, was assigned a lawyer from the Riverside County Public Defender’s office but told the court she hoped to retain a private attorney at some point in the future.
Darrah was still represented by the public defender’s office during Monday’s hearing. Judge Victoria Cameron denied a request by Darrah’s attorney that she be released on her own recognizance, citing the multiple felony counts and numerous victims. Prosecutor Homan Hosseinioun said: “We don’t want (Darrah) using feloniously obtained money to pay her bail.”