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Press Release

New York City Man Found Guilty of Charges for Abducting Elderly Woman with Dementia and Attempting to Obstruct Investigation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

LOS ANGELES – A New York man was found guilty by a judge today of federal criminal charges stemming from his abduction of a 68-year-old woman with dementia at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center in July 2021.

Johnny Ray Gasca, 53, of Bronx, New York, was found guilty of one count of kidnapping, two counts of attempted obstruction of justice, and one count of attempted witness tampering.

United States District Judge André Birotte Jr. entered the verdict today at the conclusion of a six-day bench trial.

According to evidence presented at trial, Gasca kidnapped the victim at approximately 8:30 a.m. on July 19, 2021, after attempting to obtain a medical appointment at the VA facility.

The victim was accompanied by a long-time friend, and as the two of them “approached their car, Gasca appeared unexpectedly,” according to court documents. “Gasca put his arms around [the victim] and pushed her toward a gold-colored pickup truck that was parked nearby. Gasca then picked [the victim] up and threw her into the rear portion of the truck’s passenger compartment.”

After the Department of Veteran Affairs Police Department contacted the FBI later in the morning, the victim’s friend told agents she recognized Gasca, believed he previously was in some kind of relationship with the victim, and suspected Gasca may have taken some of [the victim’s] money from her bank and retirement accounts.

The witness also reported that the victim previously noted she was missing some of her credit cards, and when the two went to the victim’s bank to review her accounts, bank records showed a $35,000 withdrawal from the victim’s retirement account, followed by several Venmo, MoneyGram and PayPal transactions that the friend believed the victim did not have “the knowledge or wherewithal” to conduct, court documents state.

Within hours of beginning its investigation, the FBI located the victim’s phone at The Dixie Hollywood Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard, where agents converged. Soon after, Gasca and the victim exited the hotel, leading to Gasca’s arrest.

During an interview recounted in court documents, Gasca described the victim as his girlfriend and told agents that, after leaving the VA facility, they stopped at a bank where the victim made a $15,000 withdrawal.

After his arrest and while in pre-trial custody, Gasca made several jail calls to a friend in New York asking him to destroy evidence of his wrongdoing with the victim, according to evidence presented at the trial. Gasca urged the friend to erase all his messages on the Facebook Messenger app, including messages describing the victim as a “Golden goose.”

In August 2021, Gasca made another jailhouse phone call to his friend and told him to collect his hard drives from his apartment before the FBI could seize them and learn of his financial exploitation of the victim.

Judge Birotte found Gasca not guilty of one count of interference with commerce by extortion.

Judge Birotte scheduled a September 29 sentencing hearing, at which time Gasca will face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison.

The FBI investigated this matter and received substantial assistance from the VA Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorneys Kevin B. Reidy of the Major Frauds Section and Kathy Yu of the Violent and Organized Crime Section are prosecuting this case.


Ciaran McEvoy
Public Information Officer
(213) 894-4465

Updated June 13, 2023

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 23-132