TUCSON – A man who was indicted for pretending to be a doctor may soon be indicted for pretending to be a rancher.
Joshua Nathaniel Pena-Abeyta is charged with Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices among other charges dating back to 2012 and 2014.
Last year, several people told the News 4 Tucson Investigators they gave money to Abeyta for freezers full of local beef.
Virgil Adams and a friend paid $750.
“I have proof of payment. I got a receipt. I visited the ranch. I met him in person,” Adams said. “I covered all of the bases. If someone is just a criminal, and they’re just going to rob you, there’s really not that much you can do.”
Abeyta is being held in the Pima County jail on the charges unrelated to cattle. A document filed by Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s Office indicates new charges may come soon.
The document indicates “there is a second case against the Defendant being prepared for indictment. This case occurred in 2018, in which the Defendant portrayed himself as a rancher selling cattle to be butchered. In this case, the Defendant took money from the victims and promised to butcher cattle for them.”
Abeyta asked the court to lower his $15,000 bond so he could get out of jail. Adams went to court to ask the judge to keep Abeyta in custody.
“At least he’s in jail and can’t defraud anyone else,” Adams said.
The judge denied Abeyta’s request for a lower bond.