A Ceres woman who, along with her husband, is accused of selling phony Disneyland tickets appeared in court Thursday afternoon for the first time since her arrest Wednesday.
Jessica Vasquez, who also is known as Jessica Melendez, is charged with more than 30 counts, which include felony charges of burglary, petty theft, grand theft and writing bad checks. She also is charged with misdemeanor counts of making unauthorized tickets.
Vasquez was in custody and appeared for her arraignment hearing without an attorney. Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge David Vanderwall entered a not guilty plea on her behalf and scheduled her to return to court Wednesday for a pretrial hearing.
Vasquez said in court that she is going to try to hire a defense attorney. In the meantime, the judge appointed the Stanislaus County Public Defenders Officer to represent her. Her bail amount remained set at $100,000.
The defendant was arraigned without her husband, Israel Vasquez, who had been released on bail overnight. His arraignment hearing had not been scheduled. He faces felony charges of making criminal threats, burglary and writing bad checks, along with misdemeanor counts of petty theft and making unauthorized tickets.
The Vasquezes were arrested Wednesday afternoon at their Evans Road home in Ceres. Theyre accused of buying two-day Disneyland passes from AAA, then selling photocopies of them to people looking for a deal on Craigslist.
Ceres police have said most families were told at the gates that their electronic tickets already had been used; some had the funds to buy their admission, but others had to return home with devastated children.
The defendants are suspected of selling dozens of copies of the tickets and making more than $20,000. Victims were out anywhere from $250 to $625.
The arrests this week culminated an investigation that started in October when The Bee inquired with Ceres police about complaints from a Las Vegas woman who said she paid Melendez $400 for four tickets.
Ceres police said investigators searched the couples home in the 1800 block of Evans Road and found more than 15 tickets, including ones with the same serial numbers as those purchased by the Las Vegas woman.
The search and news reports about the tickets generated responses from even more possible victims.
People from up and down the Highway 99 corridor, as far north as Granite Bay and as far south as Fresno, have reported to police that they also have been victimized by the suspected ticket scam. There also were victims reported in the Bay Area.