Robert Clouston ordered to pay $327,593 restitution
– Robert Clouston, co-owner of two downtown Paso Robles restaurants – Robert’s and Estrella, has been ordered to pay a victim restitution in the amount of $327,593.71, according to San Luis Obispo County Court documents. Clouston was convicted last year of felony theft after accusations of embezzlement, forgery and identity theft from a 99-year-old Templeton woman. The criminal complaint states that Clouston removed a 17-acre parcel from a joint trust owned by he and the woman in June 2008 and placed it in an LLC, without consulting her, in order to gain sole ownership.
The court arrived at the above restitution amount by first finding that the debt on the victim’s property is $450,000. The court next found that legitimate offsets due to the defendant added up to $133,813.14. The court then subtracted that sum from the $450,000 figure which resulted in $316,186.86. The court next added to that sum the $11,406.85 which the victim, Ms. Nelson, paid to her lawyers in the civil lawsuit she brought against the defendant. Those figures add up to $327,593.71 which the court set as the restitution owed Ms. Nelson by the defendant.
More offsets were claimed by the defendant, but the court dismissed them. “The court, despite a valiant effort by Mr. Clouston’s attorney to establish far more offsets, finds none. The court so concludes because it doesn’t find Mr. Clouston credible. The court is of this opinion because the people proved at the restitution hearing that Mr. Clouston has made numerous exaggerated or outright false claims in his testimony and his documentary evidence. Accordingly, the court doesn’t believe Mr. Clouston’s assertions regarding the legitimacy of other offsets he is claiming,” a court document read.
Clouston was sentenced to serve one year in county jail last year. According to Public Relations Officer Tony Cipolla, Clouston was brought into custody on September 12 of 2014. He spent six days in jail and on September 18 was eligible for our home detention program in order for him to work and make restitution to the victim in this case. “In that program he is restricted to his home and work and is electronically monitored with an ankle monitor. He was released from our custody on March 13 of 2015 having served 183 days of his sentence with time off for good behavior,” said Cipolla.
Clouston could not be reached for comment at either of his restaurants.