- Associated Press - Friday, July 28, 2017

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - A Las Cruces man accused of defrauding two elderly persons since 2015 has been ordered to pay more than $371,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors say Raiden Castro pleaded no contest Thursday to 18 counts of fraud.

Castro was accused of defrauding a 79-year-old Las Cruces woman out of more than $300,000 in 2015 and 2016 and a 93-year-old Las Cruces man out of more than $60,000 in December 2016 and January 2017.

He was arrested in January.

According to police investigators, Castro approached potential customers as the owner of landscaping and detailing businesses and befriended them before embezzling cash from them.

Castro has been ordered to undergo a 60-day diagnostic evaluation before sentencing.

Prosecutors say they intend to ask for 25 years in prison, with all but 10 years suspended.

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