Alleged grifter's attorney says client innocent

Robert Pearl
Robert Pearl

An alleged grifter accused of running costly scams nationwide "vigorously" denies through his attorney ownership of child pornography found on his computer.

"It is completely out of character for him," said Richard Wunsch, attorney for Robert Pearl. "The state is going to have a hard time with this."

Pearl, 40, has a status hearing scheduled for March 6 at 9 a.m. at the Plantation Key Courthouse.

He has been locked up since February, when he and his wife, Tamara Asada, were arrested after showing deputies fake IDs they used to secure management jobs at Gilbert's Resort in Key Largo. They were going by the last name Trotter when they successfully applied for their Gilbert's job months earlier.

After being arrested, investigators soon discovered they were wanted in California on a 2010 warrant for felony fraud, second-degree burglary and grand theft. They also left a trail of angry investors in several states who say Pearl and Asada scammed them out of thousands of dollars.

They are even accused of duping officials in several North Carolina counties into wining and dining the couple because the officials bought Pearl and Asada's story that they represented a Botswana gem manufacturing company that wanted to open facilities in the state.

The ruse lasted about three weeks before someone from the state found out they were fugitives.

Despite their alleged crimes elsewhere, Pearl and Asada were facing little more than fake-ID charges in the Keys, and law enforcement in other states have shown little appetite for extraditing the couple.

Asada pleaded guilty to possessing a bogus license in October and was sentenced to 364 days in jail, with credit for the 237 days she already served. She is now free.

But her husband had no such luck. Detectives said they found "a number of illegal images" on his computer back in May. Prosecutors tacked on seven more counts of child pornography in November after detectives say they discovered "videos of underage children performing sexual acts."