The Evolution Of An E-Stalker
The beginning of this story goes back to 1982, although I did not know the identity of the person stalking me until about 1994. In the beginning, even if had I known the identity of the person, the stalking laws, as we know them today, didn’t exist.
I had been practicing law for about five years, when I began to receive thousands of magazine subscriptions, plus unrequested items from the Colombia Music Club, Book of the Month, Danbury Mint, Franklin Mint and everything else that could be ordered, with a “bill me later” option. These subscriptions and items were sent to both my home and my office. To envision the problem, the volume of unsolicited mail and items could fill the bed of a pick-up truck once a month – this went on for 13 years.
I had no idea who was behind this activity. Over the period of years, I had to hire an assistant, whose sole function was to communicate with all of the different companies and inform them that I had neither subscribed nor requested, whatever it is was they were sending. Many people didn’t understand why this was necessary since they believe that if you didn’t order it, you don’t have to pay for it. Unfortunately, if you didn’t order it, but the company doesn’t know you didn’t order it, they will continue to bill you and, ultimately, take it to your credit report.
The first few years were annoying, but no real harm was being done. Except for the inconvenience, and my out-of-pocket expenses to hire someone to handle getting rid of all of the items. There are intermediary organizations, which allow you to place your name on a “no solicit” list, to avoid receiving unsolicited subscriptions. However, in this instance, every few weeks, the unknown subject would change the spelling of my name, or the street name, or the city name – just by a single letter – and the computer would fail to block the requests. Between 1989 and 1994, the person began to target the interests of my family members, including my children. When something of note took place in the lives of my children, the person would focus on the subscriptions and items, catalogs, etc., to relate to those interests. As an example, when one of my sons got a 4×4 vehicle, everything that came in for a period of the following couple of months, related to off-roading, 4x-ing and other activities associated with off-road activities. This was not a fluke since I identified other patterns of specific interests of my children, which had the same kind of response from the person initiating all the magazines and products. As a result, my efforts to locate the person became more intense. In 1994, I allowed myself to be interviewed for a newspaper article, in an effort to determine whether other people were being targeted, with the same kind of activity. I had chosen not to do that earlier, so as not to put ideas in the minds of people who might wish to torment, or target, people with whom they were not happy. As a result of the newspaper article, I found there were other people, who had also been targeted but on a much smaller scale. The good news was I was able to identify a common thread, between all of us, which was a medical malpractice case that was handled by my former partner, at or around the time this activity started. One of the things I had been requesting when I sent out letters to all of the magazines, and other companies, was a request that they send me the originals of the “subscription” forms. From that, we were able to see examples of the person’s handwriting, although the majority of requests had used a series of rubber stamps. As the years went by, there had been quite a few written in very unique handwriting. When compared with notes, written by a witness in the malpractice lawsuit, we had a match.
Over the years, when the volume increased to exponential rates, I would contact law enforcement to keep them aware of the threatening nature of the behavior. I also had vandalism at my office and home and reason to believe it was the same individual. On the issue of the subscriptions, the first question asked by the officers was, “what crime is he committing?” At that point, he did not fall within the parameters of the stalking laws. But to me, it certainly seemed he must be committing some crime.
In frustration, I sat down and read through the California Penal Code and stumbled across a provision in Penal Code Section 529 – False Personation – which was clearly being violated by the person’s actions, and it was a felony.
The district attorney’s office, and law enforcement, working together, identified a Dr. Reynaldo Fong, as the perpetrator. The handwriting samples were clear and convincing evidence that he had been the person submitting the subscription requests. I had absolutely no knowledge of this person, other than he was a witness in a medical malpractice case, handled by my former partner. I knew of no relationship I’d ever had with him, so it was not surprising I had never identified him as the person who was doing this to me and my family.
Dr. Fong was arrested, and while awaiting trial, with restraining orders in place to prevent him from continuing the same kind of false personation, he intimidated an individual into obtaining credit card information. He utilized that information to order a small refrigerator and had it sent to my office as if I had ordered it. Through excellent investigation, by a District Attorney Investigator, this was traced back to Dr. Fong. He was re-arrested and, ultimately, he plead guilty to eight felonies.
Dr. Fong was in this country illegally. Twenty years earlier, he had come from the Philippines on a visa, to study at Johns Hopkins. Even though he was working as an anesthesiologist, he did not obtain permission to remain in the United States. Basically, he had been illegally residing in the United States, for 16 years. After Dr. Fong pled guilty, there was a sentencing evaluation and a psychological exam.
When I was asked whether or not I had any questions for Dr. Fong, I had only one. “Why me?”. I was stunned to learn the answer. In 1982, my husband and I had a piece of property for sale by owner. The property had significant ingress and egress issues. At that time, I was both an attorney and a real estate broker, and even though I was warning everyone both verbally and in writing about the ingress/egress issues – a bidding war ensued between two people, both of whom wanted the property. I ultimately accepted the offer from the individual represented by his own real estate broker. I felt that there would be fewer problems if the ingress/egress issues did not get resolved to the buyer’s satisfaction.
As a result, I declined to accept the second offer and, unbeknownst to me, that offer was from Dr. Reynaldo Fong. As it turned out, he was in possession of monies, both his own and his family’s, that he wished to invest in our property, to build a restaurant. I had informed him I did not believe the city of Camarillo would ever approve a restaurant on that site, but my honesty went unrewarded. When he did not obtain our property, Dr. Fong took the money he was to invest for his family and lost a significant portion of it in the gold and silver market. In an effort to recover those monies, he committed insurance fraud at Santa Paula Hospital but was discovered and found guilty. After being forced to leave Santa Paula Hospital, and in an effort to get even with the doctors, he decided to act as a witness in a medical malpractice case, against Santa Paula Hospital. Unbelievably, that medical malpractice case was handled by my partner. During the course of that litigation, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Fong, but only in his capacity as a witness in that case.
I didn’t recognize his name, as I had met him two years earlier, when he had made the offer on our property. Apparently, after he met me during the pendency of the malpractice litigation, he decided all of his problems were my fault – he would not have lost the money, he would not have been involved in the fraud, and he wouldn’t have lost his job if only I’d sold him the property. As a result, he commenced his pattern of activities as revenge.
In the report to the court, on the subject of probation, it was indicated that Dr. Fong had a significant mental illness and that he lacked the ability to control his actions. Dr. Fong was deported to the Philippines and remained there for a period of time. However, in approximately the year 2000, he entered Canada. On at least two occasions, he made an effort to enter the United States illegally. After a year and a half, we were able to obtain an international arrest warrant. Dr. Fong was arrested in Canada, but after posting a bond, he fled the country and went back to the Philippines.
Now that we have the world wide web, Dr. Fong has resorted to new ways to communicate his rage. He rarely sends subscriptions, but he does continue to send emails, and he continues to post offensive, and untrue, allegations on the web in hundreds of different sites. Lately, his email rants have taken on a more threatening note.
He continues to believe I’m responsible for every bad decision he has ever made. His emails are filled with venom and rage, but after almost 29 years, he has become a part of the background noise of my life.
Examples of his recent efforts have been to report me for tax evasion, place my name on an evangelical prayer site and writes in his email “hope you die SOON.” He is as obsessive today, as he has been for the past three decades.