An animal rescue operator who sold unborn horses but ultimately refused to relinquish the foals to her customers was sentenced Friday to three years probation and 100 hours of community service.
Susan Violet Guillot, 61, of Good Hope pleaded guilty in December to six charges of misdemeanor theft, as well as one count each of conducting business without a permit and failing to pay sales and use taxes. The original criminal complaint listed the theft counts as felonies.
Guillot’s plea was directly to Riverside County Superior Court Judge John Molloy, without input or objection from the District Attorney’s Office.
Molloy ordered the defendant to pay $5,000 in victim restitution.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Brosche, detectives were alerted to the acts of fraud 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 (specified) 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 affidavit stated.
In several instances, the defendant informed would-be owners that their foals had been stillborn, though she provided no veterinary documentation, according to the declaration. Guillot refused to refund the monies paid, investigators said.
According to court records, Guillot had prior misdemeanor convictions for embezzlement and driving on a suspended license. She completed a three-year term of probation in 2016, records show.