"Dario": A new name and other details of Baldi's life on the run

Local restaurateur and accountant Jim Baldi's disappearance in July 2010 came to an abrupt end with his January 4 arrest in San Francisco on embezzlement charges stemming from past business dealings in Charlottesville, but the details about his life on the lam are just emerging.

According to multiple sources, Baldi, the former owner of Bel Rio restaurant in Belmont, had been working as manager during the time of his arrest at a place called Pachino Trattoria & Pizzeria on Kearny Street, a classic "hole-in-the-wall" place in the outskirts of San Francisco's Chinatown. One source, who offered information to the Hook on condition of anonymity, says he'd grown his hair long and told people he was of Italian and Vietnamese descent.

What's more, multiple sources claim that Baldi was using the alias Dario DiSovana and was not alone as he launched his West Coast life.

Kristian Throckmorton, the now 27-year-old woman who originally fled with Baldi–-but who returned a few weeks later, according to her family at the time–-was still with him, the San Francisco source claims, and working at the same restaurant. In fact, the source alleges that the couple were living as man and wife with forged green cards from Canada.

"They both wore rings, operated under the same last name, and introduced themselves as married," the source reveals in an email. Another source who met Baldi in California confirms that the woman who he presented as his wife went by the name Eliana DiSovana and also worked at the restaurant until Baldi's recent arrest.

According to various and glowing online customer reviews of the restaurant, "Dario" was known for his attentive service and expert recommendations, and a photo posted along with one review clearly shows Baldi, wearing a blue shirt and black pants, making his way past tables inside a high ceilinged space with mosaic-covered ductwork up one wall.

"An Italian-accented gentleman named Dario is often the sole waiter in the small place (maybe 8 tables total), and he will treat you like family," writes one Yelp.com reviewer.

"Dario...was awesome, providing great service, spot on reco's, and genuine heart-felt hospitality," writes another reviewer on TripAdvisor.com.

Police are not releasing any details surrounding Baldi's arrest, but Albemarle County Police Sgt. Darrell Byers says "there were no outstanding warrants related to [Thockmorton]. Her location
regarding Baldi's arrest is immaterial.

"I feel confident in saying that she is not a missing person from the County," Byers adds.

However, on Throckmorton's Facebook wall there are messages from friends and family members, posted during the recent holidays, saying, "I hope and pray you are safe and sound," and "We all miss you and love you wherever you are." There are no responses from Throckmorton.

Attempts to reach Throckmorton and her family members were unsuccessful.
Our source in San Francisco admits that she'd known Baldi for some time, and was "flabbergasted" by the news that he was living there under a false identity and facing embezzlement charges in Charlottesville.

"He was extremely hardworking and well-liked," says the source.

Indeed, the source reports Baldi worked 14-hour days, and she believes the restaurant was doing well as a direct result of his commitment.

A woman answering the phone at the restaurant identified herself as manager and declined comment, other than to express sadness and surprise at the turn of events.

She wasn't the only one shocked.

"It was a surprise because I knew him for almost two years and he was charming, hardworking, in plain sight, very Euro," says the source. "So for me, it was like, why was he working and not on a beach somewhere?"

Indeed, that's the scenario that Charlottesville resident Olivia Branch imagined. Branch, who first met Baldi when he was a bartender at Rapture in the late 1990s, says it's hard to reconcile the "nice guy" she knew with the pain he's allegedly inflicted.

However, as previously reported in this paper, Baldi's disappearance left his former accounting clients angry, and a slew of unanswered questions.

When he disappeared, Branch assumed he had fled the country and was living off the allegedly stolen loot.

One reason Baldi may have decided not to leave the country was that his father, Albert Baldi, had been ill for a long time and finally passed away a few days before Christmas. According to an online obituary, Albert died "with his family by his side." His family, according to the obituary, includes his wife Judith, his two surviving children, Baldi and his sister Kathleen, and five grandchildren. Attempts to reach Baldi's two children, who are now over 18, were unsuccessful. A message left at a number listed for Baldi's mother in Maine was unreturned at presstime.

The San Francisco source says, in hindsight, there were holes in Baldi's story.

"He told everyone completely different things about where he was from, who his parents were, and on and on, mixed in with truth," she says.

According to Hook legal analyst David Heilberg, going on the run and adopting a fake identity are things that are not going to help Baldi's case when, and if, he returns to Charlottesville to face the charges against him. Baldi will likely be extradited to Charlottesville, given the fact that it is more difficult to fight extradition when you've fled, but it could take as long as six months, says Heilberg.

When Baldi does finally end up in court, Heilberg says, the amount of trouble he could be in would be proportional to the amount of money he allegedly took, the degree to which he violated his clients' trust, and his willingness to work out a plan to pay his alleged victims back.

"Embezzlers are punished more harshly than vanilla larcenists," says Heilberg, "because fraud and deception is involved. The worse the breach of trust, the more time he will serve." 

This story is a part of the The Jim Baldi story special.


Am I the only one who read "vanilla larcenists" and imagined a scraggly dude at Whole Foods pocketing vanilla beans? Those things are expensive....

What a world.. If he'd just loaded up a house with Heloc debt for $100K or so (more than his alleged embezzled amount I think) and then let the place go to foreclosure, he'd be home free. There are so many ways to get hold of money through conversions of that sort, it hardly makes sense to embezzle small amounts. If the whole thing were truly premeditated, he would have done it that way instead of panicking and running after cooking clients' books. Still, he will do little if any jail time other than during detention, and his real punishment will be the lengthy disruption of his life while he goes through the long legal process.

Looks like the preacher's daughter gets a free pass on aiding and abetting a fugitive.
And hey, that's what I call aid!

When Baldi does finally end up in court, Heilberg says, the amount of trouble he could be in would be proportional to the amount of money he allegedly took, the degree to which he violated his clients' trust, and his willingness to work out a plan to pay his alleged victims back.

So neither he nor Throckmorton face any consequences for forging Canadian green cards and living under assumed identities to evade law enforcement for years?

God this story is awesome!! It's like something out of a movie!! I was laughing out loud throughout, I'm not even kidding. On the lam in San Fran, under an fake i.d., "Dario DiSovana" the half Italian, half Vietnamese restaurateur from Canada with his wife "Eliana," complete with a fake accent, regaling people with his wild tales and yarns, and the cherry on top of the whole thing.....the rave reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor that mention him by name! And even a pic showing him in his little hole-in-the-wall joint, on the outskirts of Chinatown! It just doesn't get more awesome than this! hahaha I even once met Olivia Branch back in 2008, who's randomly quoted in this article, adding to the delight as I read. oh my god, Hollywood is calling. Seriously. Hollywood loves to make bad guys the hero, and the more money somebody stole and the bigger the lies they told and the greater lengths they went to to fabricate a new life for themselves and the more people they tricked the bigger the interest is. I can totally imagine this one getting floated around producers' offices in Tinseltown, even if only for a made-for-TV movie. :D Wonder who'll play the parts of the Hook reporters, hot on Baldi's tail, never letting up on this story? :D

Ra Ra;
It truly is everything you say and more. The really awesome part of it to me is how disappointed all the local Ernest&Madame Defarges are going to be once it all plays out..

Did Dario DiSovana and Eliana DiSovana pay/file any taxes on earnings to IRS? or to Canada?

yeah well his crooked ways put my friend's awesome little restaurant out of buissnes. bohem was a work of passion for my friend. and while he did drink too much and was warned not to use baldi as an accountant. he was still embezzelled out of buissnes/ for shane

Well gee, JPA, with friends like you we hardly have any need for enemies..

Can you interview the girl to ask why she stayed with him?


What kind of gal *wouldn't* jump at the chance to be "Eliana DiSovana," the wife of Darrrrrio, the half Italian, half Vietnamese restauranteur from Canada?

Maybe it was some sort of fun and kinky role playing game they enjoyed. ;)

If you could re invent yourself anyway you wanted who would not want to be Dario especially if you're Baldi. I wonder if he spoke broken english with a thick accent to really live the role.

Oddly enough he could be in more trouble over the fake green cards, especially if the names are of real people; the feds have been tough on identity theft lately.

Facebook page for the Catalan Bistro in San Francisco shows Eliana di Sovana as the Manager. http://www.facebook.com/pages/B44-CATALAN-BISTRO/126670637360016?sk=info
Also on the edge of chinatown.
Did she leave town and go on the lamb with a fugitive only to end up working two jobs? funny.

When you think about it, it should have been easy to spot them leaving town on a lamb.

Oh, you Hollywood fans would devour how much more there is to this story. The sordid, tawdry stuff that the Charlottesville Restaurant Zombie community brings us over and over again.. No sense in me splashing the gossipy details all over here, but suffice it to say that there were hard working folks at Bel Rio who had no hope of advancement unless they tickled the boss' fancy. Only the hot young women get the promotions and perks, and then are themselves phased out of both the business and the boss' bedroom when they dare approach 30..

All very Charlottesville, through and through..

Is that the same Seannie O' The Hills who has written posts telling how he scooped up drunk college girls from the gutter and took them to his home for safe keeping over night? I'd much rather have my daughter willingly be taken home after being charmed by Baldy than to be taken into "protective custody" by someone" who has been lurking around waiting for such an opportunity.

This makes me nostalgic for the days of Chief Gordon.

"....but suffice it to say that there were hard working folks at Bel Rio who had no hope of advancement unless they tickled the boss' fancy. Only the hot young women get the promotions and perks, and then are themselves phased out of both the business and the boss' bedroom when they dare approach 30..."

And here I thought people working at restaurants were there to like, wait tables and earn tips. Who knew things were so complicated at Bel Rio......

It goes way beyond just Bel Rio.. Baldi's story just sticks out because he got one of them to go on the lamb with him to help spend all that money he apparently stole from honest business owners all over town.

There's that lamb again! Must be a tired critter, hauling these two scofflaws across the country.


What's your opinion on drunk driving in Charlottesville?