INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - How far would you go for free BNP tennis tickets, or discounted golf? One man's efforts may land him in jail. A Palm Desert man is accused of forging documents just to get an Indian Wells resident card.
"I think that's awful I don't think that's fair," said Indian Wells property owner Ruby Wert.
Owning property in Indian Wells has it's perks.
"This place, the Indian Wells Golf Course, you play here for $35," said Indian Wells property owner Rick Waddell.
Property owners also get discounts at local hotels, not to mention free tickets to the BNP Paribas Open.
"The benefits that you get being an Indian Wells resident they are phenomenal especially during the tennis tournament," said Waddell.
Proving you are a resident of Indian Wells isn't easy, you have to come to city hall in person and show the deed to the property. It's that deed that investigators believe 54-year-old Michael Capizzi faked.
"I can understand it, I can understand why he would want to do that," said Waddell.
"There is always people trying to weasel their way in for anything they can get for free, I'm not surprised, but I think it's awful," said Wert.
Riverside County Sheriff's Department says Capizzi is accused of using his resident card to play golf at a discounted rate 11 times, and getting four loge tickets to the BNP Paribas open as well as two suite tickets. All of that is valued anywhere from $2,370 to $3,140 by our calculations.
"You better be a resident, you pay taxes here, unless you pay the taxes here, you shouldn't allowed to do what he tried to do," said Waddell.
The city of Indian Wells told us they caught the fraud when homeowners from the same address applied for tennis tickets.
Capizzi was arrested for 13 counts of commercial burglary and one count of altering a copy of an official record. If convicted he could face jail time, and possibly ten of thousands of dollars in fines.
Indian Wells isn't the only city that offers benefits to residents, Palm Desert, La Quinta and Rancho Mirage also have a similar residents card that offer discounts.