New child porn charges lodged against alleged grifter

An alleged con man arrested in February for reportedly using a fake driver's license as ID when applying for a manager job at an Upper Keys resort was slapped Saturday with seven felony counts of child pornography possession.

Robert Pearl, 39, in jail since his initial arrest in February, had been charged by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office with six similar counts in May.

Following his fake ID arrest along with his supposed wife Tamara Asada, 41, on a similar ID count, information came out that the pair had reportedly swindled an Indiana business and North Carolina local governments out of large sums of money. They also have warrants for their arrests pending in California.

The first child-porn counts were lodged in May, when Monroe County Sheriff's Office investigators reportedly found "a number of illegal images" on Pearl's computer.

"The investigation has continued, along with further examination of the computer's hard drive," agency spokeswoman Becky Herrin said. "On Saturday, Pearl was further charged with seven more counts of sexual performance by a child because he possessed videos of underage children performing sexual acts."

On Oct. 7, Asada pleaded guilty to possessing a fake driver's license. Circuit Court Judge Luis Garcia sentenced her to 364 days in jail, with credit for the 237 days she had already served.

Asada and Pearl were arrested in February after they lied to the owners of Gilbert's Resort in Key Largo about their identities in order to get hired as managers.

Deputies were originally suspicious about the pair back in August 2012, when Pearl called police to report graffiti spray painted at the resort. When a deputy responded, Pearl gave the officer a license showing his last name to be Robert Trotter. The deputy found no Robert Trotter in state records.

But investigators said they had no reason to question Pearl, despite their suspicions. But when they began hearing reports of internal theft at Gilbert's, they used it as an excuse to question Pearl.

When arrested, the couple was taken to the Plantation Key jail for questioning and gave deputies their real names.

Investigators soon discovered they were wanted in California on a 2010 warrant for felony fraud, second-degree burglary and grand theft. But they were also wanted in several other states - not so much by the police, but by the victims of their numerous alleged scams.

In 2009, Pearl convinced state officials in North Carolina he was a representative from a Botswana gem manufacturer looking to open a facility in the state. For about three weeks that year, Pearl and Asada were wined and dined by officials from several counties hoping theirs would be chosen as the site for the facility.

That lasted until a state official found out the couple were fugitives.

In 2011, Pearl and Asada convinced investors in Indiana they had connections with Apple Computers and were opening up an Apple Store in the Fort Wayne, Ind.

They were so believable, the local school district almost contracted with Pearl so he could be its sole provider of Apple computers. That lasted about six months before John Bowers, an attorney for an Indiana business the couple reportedly swindled, thought things didn't add up. Pearl and Asada skipped town when Bowers confronted them - but not before they allegedly got away with more than $100,000.

In numerous interviews with several of the couple's alleged victims, they expressed frustration that Pearl and Asada were able to get away with their crimes mainly because police and prosecutors in other states seem unwilling to chase them after they skipped town.

It seems like their luck came to an end in the Keys.