RIVERSIDE – An animal rescue operator accused of selling unborn horses and then refusing to relinquish the foals after they reached a certain age is slated to be arraigned in Riverside next week, as investigators continue searching for individuals who may have been victimized.
Susan Violet Guillot, 60, of Good Hope is charged with six counts of grand theft and one count each of conducting business without a permit and failing to pay sales and use taxes.
Guillot, who is free on $34,000 bail, is scheduled to make her initial court appearance on Aug. 25 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Brosche, detectives were alerted to potential acts of fraud by the defendant in April 2016.
Brosche alleged that Guillot advertised horses for sale through her business, Second Hand Souls Animal Rescue, which according to court documents is located at 28281 Robert St.
An arrest warrant affidavit filed by sheriff’s Detective Michele Huskey stated that the defendant sold in-utero foals for $5,000 to $6,500 each. Contracts were signed to take possession of the equines, and on seven occasions, “the victims were allowed to visit the pregnant mare and the foal once it was born,” Huskey wrote.
“The contracts (stated) that when the foal (reached) six months old and had been weaned from its mother, the buyer (would) be able to have their horse. However, Susan never allowed the victims to have their horse,” the investigator alleged.
In several cases, the defendant informed would-be owners that their foals had been stillborn, though she provided no veterinary documentation, according to the declaration. Guillot allegedly refused to refund the monies paid.
The investigation, which spanned more than a year, identified nine alleged victims.
“Detectives are looking for any additional victims who may have attempted to purchase a horse from Guillot within the last few years,” Brosche said.
The sheriff’s Lake Elsinore station is handling the investigation. Anyone who may have information was encouraged to contact Huskey at (951) 245-3300.
According to court records, Guillot has prior misdemeanor convictions for embezzlement and driving on a suspended license. She completed a three-year term of probation last year, records show.