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Mission Valley Ballroom owners sentenced to pay thousands in restitution
By: Jesse Martinez
EL PASO, Texas Two El Pasoans who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from their party hall business were sentenced Thursday.
Donna Cortez Flores, 47, and Ricardo Espinoza, 47, closed the Mission Valley Ballroom without notice and kept thousands of dollars from customers who paid in advance, officials said.
The two were charged with five counts of deceptive business practice in 10 different cases, and were sentenced to one year probation each, 150 hours of community service and they have to pay $76,000 in restitution to 34 victims, officials said.
"In addition to being punished for violating the public's trust, the merchants were ordered to pay restitution to the residents they victimized," said Jo Anne Bernal, El Paso County attorney. "The case serves as an example of how the Deceptive Business laws can and will protect unethical merchants when they choose to take advantage of consumers," Bernal concluded.
Police reports from September 2008 to January 2011 showed that the two received money from customers booking their events in advance at the Mission Valley Ballroom. When the ballroom closed in 2011, the money was never returned, officials said.