Norman Keating charged with grand theft
Norman Keating, the owner of Xpresstoon Maps, was arrested Tuesday and charged with 18 felony counts of grand theft, including credit card theft and check fraud. The arrest came after a six-month investigation of Keating’s company by the sheriff’s Commercial Crimes unit.
Keating, who was taken into custody at his residence in Valencia, was arraigned Thursday and is being held at the Twin Towers facility in downtown Los Angeles. Bail has been set at half a million dollars.
At least 10 Santa Clarita Valley businesses are named in the case, according to Detective David Lingscheit. Victims include the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce and Mission Valley Bank.
“He was making false statements and misrepresenting his product, both verbally and on his website. People relied on him for a product they paid for and he didn’t deliver,” said Lingscheit.
A press release issued by Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau Friday afternoon said that Keating was accused of defrauding clients out of thousands of dollars. He adopted a lavish lifestyle, allegedly supported by proceeds of check kiting and access card information he had obtained from potential customers.
Xpresstoon Maps are advertiser-driven primitive city maps, featuring icons for local businesses. A companion website promised an interactive feature driving customers to their locations.
Larry Mankin, President of the SCV Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber had given Keating an event sponsorship valued at $4,000 for which he did not pay.
“We’ve talked with a few people who were upset that they didn’t get the product they thought they were purchasing,” said Mankin, adding that the chamber did not endorse or participate in the map Keating was proposing for the valley.
KHTS Radio participated in the initial printing of the local map, but was not one of the companies affected.