IRVINE, Calif. (KTLA) — An Orange County man is facing shocking charges, accused of using his elderly mother to panhandle for money at local malls.
The man, 49-year-old David Che, was recently confronted by a concerned citizen outside the UC Irvine Town Center mall.
That concerned citizen posted a video of the confrontation to YouTube.
“There’s the potential that there’s a law being broken based on the panhandling or possibly trespassing,” said Irvine police Lt. Julie Engen.
“As far as what’s occurring between the man and the woman depicted in the video, that matter is under investigation.”
Irvine police say they began looking at Che almost immediately after the video was posted last month.
Che allegedly has his mother sit in front of stores asking for money for four to six hours at a time.
The video, in fact, was shot at 2 a.m., as the son picked up his mother and her earnings in his Prius.
But investigators say that the mom, apparently, is a willing participant, and that, while it’s distasteful, it’s just a minor misdemeanor.
“There is a municipal code against conducting business without a license, so any solicitation of money without a license could be considered illegal,” Engen said.
“However, that is not our primary concern in a case like this,” she added.
The primary concern is that Che might be forcing his mother to panhandle and/or mentally abusing her, and authorities are checking into that.
“If she says I don’t want to go anywhere, I’m happy here, I have a place to live… there’s not much we can do,” said Carol Mitchell of Orange County Adult Services.
“We see this a lot, where elderly people have a son or daughter or other relative taking care of them, and they really don’t want anybody else,” she said.