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DA’s office arrests Ceres shop owner Juaregui alleging he scammed many
• Victims included aspiring Mexican immigrants
Fernando Ochoa Juaregui scam
Fernando Ochoa Juaregui (inset) operated his 8A Food Truck, Inc., at this industrial park location at 2216 Cedarville Drive in Ceres until it closed after the business folded. Last week the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office arrested him for alleging scamming numerous folks out of hundreds of thousands of dollars to build food vendor trucks which he never delivered. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Stanislaus County District Attorney investigators arrested a 27-year-old Modesto man last week who’s Ceres shop is the center of an alleged scam of numerous victims throughout Central and Southern California.

Fernando Ochoa Juaregui is being charged with bilking hundreds of thousands of dollars from his victims who hired him to build custom food trucks yet failing to deliver them. He was booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on Tuesday evening, April 9 on suspicion of fraud.

Known as the “taco truck guy” in the Central Valley, Juaregui operated the 8A Food Truck, Inc. in a Ceres industrial park at 2216 Cedarville Drive. He allegedly signed agreements with approximately 40 people in the Valley to build vendor vehicles and failing to come through after taking their deposits, according to Wendell Emerson, the chief deputy DA in Stanislaus County. The list of his alleged victims includes residents living in the Inland Empire area of Southern California. San Bernardino and Victorville residents are among those who report being scammed by Juaregui. A couple in San Bernardino say they handed over $15,000 to him and never received the product while a Victorville man claims he paid $25,000 to build a food truck out of a van. The vehicle wasn’t manufactured and Juaregui appeared to avoid contacts.

Another victim, Norma Estevez of Salinas, said she borrowed $60,000 against the equity in her home to pay Juaregui for a vehicle only to have him avoid her.

Some who were delivered vehicles claim the work was so shoddy that they were unusable. Another person claims that the young entrepreneur took back a vehicle after delivery.

Authorities say that Juaregui portrayed himself on social media as living a rich lifestyle, posing with sleek cars, dressed in designer clothes and going on vacations to exotic places.

As news of the alleged scam spread on local TV news stations and on the internet starting last year, Juaregui told the Los Angeles Times that he had to close his Ceres shop because angry clients kept going there to confront him.

Juaregui denied scamming anyone and told the newspaper that his failure to keep up with orders stemmed from his inexperience in the business which caused delays. The Times quoted him as saying: “I’m trying to deal with this scandal so I can make my business better again — I had a real company. I’m not a business expert. I just know how to build trucks.”