San Bruno blast victim poseurs get slap on the wrist 

Heartless crooks who posed as San Bruno disaster victims in order to bilk financial aid got a slap on the wrist Wednesday, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors hoped the judge would throw 42-year-old Lisa Monique Justin and 44-year-old Sonya Smith into state prison for two years for trying to obtain financial aid intended for victims of the San Bruno pipeline explosion.

The pair pleaded no contest to robbery and perjury charges last month.

“The prosecution argued for state prison for both defendants,” San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. “The court rejected the prosecution position and placed both defendants on 3 years supervised probation.”

Smith also received a year in jail, but with 312 days credit for time already served. Justin received 312 days in jail — time she has already served.

Smith also must complete 500 hours of public service, and Justin 200.

Not long after the Sept. 9 blast, Wagstaffe vowed to go after the “vermin” who tried to capitalize on the disaster.

Five other people are accused in similar scams.

The cons went to the victim’s aid center in San Bruno, where they lied about being residents in the blast zone in order to pick up an array of benefits, prosecutors said. Benefits included gift cards, free cell phones and hotel accommodations.

Daniel Leon Stansbury, 41, of Los Altos, faces three years in prison when he is sentenced on March 22. Last month, Stansbury pleaded no contest to four felony counts including burglary, identity theft and grand theft.

Stansbury went twice to the disaster aid center, listing two separate San Bruno addresses on his applications. In those trips, he netted two $1,000 gift cards from Pacific Gas & Electric Co., which owns the pipes that exploded.

He also got a 13-day stay in hotel rooms and a rental car for the entire period, Wagstaffe said.

“We’ve said from Day 1, we believe anybody who takes advantage of a situation like this belongs in prison,” Wagstaffe said last month.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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