Encinitas dentist & wife accused of stealing $260,000 from patients

Dr. Edward Bodek has been a dentist for almost 30 years. His wife, Mary Bodek, worked as his office manager at this dental office in Encinitas.

Prosecutors have charged the couple with using patient credit cards to rack up more than $260,000 in fraudulent charges.

“The patients are very loyal to Dr. Bodek,” said Deputy District Attorney Anna Winn. “They love Dr. Bodek and trust him. They’ve been his patients for years and they are elderly people who have complete faith in him.”

George Ravazzolo said he was a patient of Dr. Bodek for some 20 years.

“He was good. He was easy to deal with. He was very kind,” said Ravazzolo.

“I was very proud of him for being the kind of person who would go to assisted living centers and nursing homes, take care of the older people and it turned out he took advantage of them,” Ravazzolo told News 8 during an interview in his Carlsbad home.

In August, Ravazzolo went to Dr. Bodek for a $67 teeth cleaning and ended up with $8,000 in unauthorized charges on his credit card, he said.

“I’m so disappointed in him as a person for doing this, and I can’t understand why,” said Ravazzolo.

When federal agents served search warrants on the dental office and on the Bodeks’ apartment in Carlsbad, they found stacks of boxes and shopping bags, according to court records.

Agents also discovered 30 different storage units rented by the Bodeks, which were full of women’s clothing, high end handbags, and fur coats with the price tags still on them, the records show.

“When I heard he had 30 storage unit filled with this, all I could think of was hoarding. He’s a hoarder and he couldn’t help himself,” said Ravazzolo.

Dr. Bodek and his wife are now facing 45 felony counts involving 22 patients and more than 100 fraudulent credit card transactions. They could get up to 21 years in prison if convicted.

“I don’t know how he’s going to take it. I don’t think he good prison material at all,” said Ravazzolo.

Ravazzolo ended up getting his $8,000 back from his credit card company but other alleged victims were not so lucky.

Dr. Bodek and his wife remain in jail after the judge set bail at $1.5 million each.

Court of Appeal Recuses Orange County District Attorney’s Office in Murder Case

On November 23, 2016, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the Superior Court’s Decision  recusing the entire District Attorneys Office in Orange County [OCDA] in the penalty phase of a case in which the defendant had previously pled guilty to eight counts of murder. The Superior Court concluded the OCDA had such a severe conflict of interest (its duty to fairly prosecute a case under the rule of law) with the [OCSD] Orange County Sheriff’s Department (in which the loyalty by prosecutors to  the sheriffs conflicted). As a result, the court held  it was unlikely the defendant could have a fair trial. This determination came after hearings over a period of six months in which nearly forty witnesses testified as to the systemic, known and prejudicial use of confidential informants that violated the constitutional rights of inmates, along with substantial discovery failures of the OCSD.

The ruling came after a  murder trial heavily reported by the media involving a defendant who with a barrage of gunfire killed eight individuals at a hair salon where his former wife was working. Although the Deputy Public Defender representing the defendant eventually discovered sheriff’s deputies were using confidential jailhouse informants to solicit incriminating statements from high-profile defendants, the District Attorney’s Office and its prosecutors on an ongoing basis failed to disclose this practice.

 

Federal Appeals Court Bars DOJ From Prosecuting Medical Marijuana Cases

On August 16, 2016, a three- judge panel of the 9th Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals (this is the federal appellate court that covers California) ruled against the Federal Government, holding the Department of Justice (DOJ) cannot prosecute marijuana cases when a STATE permits medical marijuana &/or a business or individual is in compliance with state law.

In 2014, Congress passed a bill known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment that DOJ cannot use any of its funding in any given fiscal year to interfere with medical marijuana laws in the states. In other words, the Federal Government is barred from preventing states from how they regulate the use or sale of marijuana.

This is a victory for proponents of medical marijuana laws, but there are two apparent limitations:

  • The cases will likely turn on whether there is strict compliance with the relevant conditions of state law; and
  • The Congressional appropriation restriction noted above expires 9/30/16 and, unless Congress passes a new bill to extend that prohibition, it will soon expire.

This is a unique situation inasmuch as the Federal Government has not updated its laws for40-50 years while approximately 41 states authorize at least one form of medical marijuana use. Some commentators argue the Federal Government is out of step with [what seems] a growing trend in a majority of states

We can expect to see new legislation by Congress regarding this subject very soon.

 

Deputy Arrested for Allegedly Soliciting Prostitutes

An undercover prostitution sting has led to the arrest of a San Diego sheriff’s deputy. The deputy, a helicopter pilot, faces one count of soliciting prostitution.  As a result of the arrest the officer has had his badge and gun revoked and he has been placed on paid administrative assignment pending the outcome of his case. According to the report, the deputy has been with the department since 1991.

 

Friend: Murdered woman texted ‘help’ after leaving with Marine

The preliminary hearing for the Marine sergeant accused in the murder of his wife has started. The woman’s body was discovered near a lake last year. According to a friend of the victim, the woman texted the word “help” shortly after leaving on a dinner cruise with the suspect.

During the testimony, the friend said the victim was reluctant to go on the cruise with her estranged husband, but decided to go with him after his pregnant girlfriend assured her it was fine. The girlfriend claimed that she could not accompany him due to her pregnancy. She is also a suspect in the woman’s murder case.

Discrepancies in the suspect’s narrative about what happened to the victim during their outing led the friend to report the woman as missing. Further investigation led to the discovery of BDSM paraphernalia in the suspect’s home. Authorities allege the victim was forced to participate in sexual behavior prior to being killed.

 

 

 

Methamphetamine is a growing problem throughout San Diego

Methamphetamine drug use and distribution are some of the most prevent drug crimes in San Diego. According to this news report, methamphetamine killed an estimated 174 people in this Southern California city in the year 2012.“It’s prevalent and I don’t know if people know how much it is,” said the founder of a rehab facility for teen and adult addicts.
In the 90s, San Diego became known as the meth capital of the world because of an increase in labs that emerged throughout the city. Methamphetamine drug use and problems in San Diego did not end there. Today, meth is considered to be the number 1 reason why people seek rehabilitation.

Prison for former USD player

 

University of San Diego’s former basketball star, Brandon Johnson, was sentenced to 6 months in federal prison today. The 26-year-old admitted to his participation in a game-fixing scheme, which involved an illegal sport gambling operation and marijuana distribution. According to the report three other defendants, who are considered “primary defendants”, are awaiting sentencing.

Johnson pleaded guilty to unsuccessfully soliciting another university player, but he did so without a formal plea agreement. According to the report, prosecutors expressed Johnson as a willing accomplice and as showing little remorse.

Appeals Court Upholds California Death Penalty

On November 12, 2015, the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld
the constitutionality of the California Death Penalty and in so doing reversed the ruling by the US District Court that decided under the 8th Amendment it was unconstitutional as cruel and unusual punishment because of lengthy and unpredictable delays. The California Attorney General argued the delays were a result of the number and length of time involved in the legal maneuvers and appeal process that affords inmates their constitutional right to file appeals and writs of habeas corpus.

The history of the case is that in 2003, the California Supreme Court upheld the underlying conviction of the defendant/inmate on first-degree murder and rape charges.

In California since 1978, there have been approximately 900 defendants sentenced to death, with only 13 actual executions, and none in about ten years. Executions at San Quentin State Prison have been on hold since 2006 when a Federal Judge deemed there to be legal issues with the then current and past combined multi-drug lethal procedures. Since there is now a national shortage of single lethal drugs that too poses additional problems. In California, there are now about 750 inmates on death row (about 100 died while imprisoned due to other causes).

What To Do If You Get A Call or Letter From The Government?

If you receive a telephone call or a letter from the Government, it is extremely important that you obtain experienced legal counsel at once. It may be possible to “nip it in the bud” during the pre-file and/or investigative stage. This is why it’s so important to seek legal advice in the early stages of a case. Do not be naïve to think you can handle it yourself and/or any lawyer can do so on your behalf.

Some lawyers handle a huge caseload, have their junior associates and paralegals perform the work, and may be best described as an assembly line or cookie cutter law firm. You deserve an attorney who will prepare a proper strategy that is accompanied by comprehensive written legal and factual arguments that address the issues.

It is noteworthy that there are several possible outcomes of an investigation, including the following:

1. Closed, the complaint is found to be “unsubstantiated;”
2. Closed, the complaint is found to be “inconclusive;”
3. Closed, the complaint is found to have merit but insufficient evidence to prosecute given the burden of proof and likelihood of prevailing;
4. Closed, an investigative fine is imposed;
5. Referred to the local District Attorney, referred to the State of California Attorney General for the filing of an Accusation, civil complaint and/or an Interim Suspension Order, referred to the U.S. Attorney, local City Attorney, or other Legal Division for prosecution;
6. Referred for issuance of a citation; and/or
7. Referred to another law enforcement agency for prosecution.

How important are the following? Your career! Your personal and professional image and reputation! Your credibility! Your ability to maintain your current and/or have the opportunity to obtain future employment!

If an investigation is opened against you, is the number one priority the cost of your defense? However, does it make sense that the reason a lawyer may charge less is to do less? Is it likely a cut-rate attorney charges a lesser amount because (s)he handles a large volume of cases and, therefore, your expectation of personal service and winning results may be unfulfilled? Is it sufficient for you if the attorney does the obvious and no better than an “ok” job? Do you prefer quality, passion and a dedicated lawyer who is extremely motivated to win, works harder and seeks to go beyond the minimum, with a strategy for a compelling defense and offense? Do you want a lawyer with consistent winning results or are you willing to gamble on the outcome?

When you receive a call, visit or letter from an investigator, consider each of these factors when selecting a lawyer with a proven record and one who will truly fight for you. Remember, the investigator has the government on his/her side with superb lawyers to prosecute their cases and you deserve to have a formidable and premier attorney on your side, and to level the playing field.

Manhunt On for Ex-Officer Accused of Police Vendetta

COMMENTARY BY ATTORNEY SAM SPITAL, SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE:

“The New York Times reported on February 8, 2013 that a former member of the armed forces and Navy reservist went on a rampage against police officers and their families, killing at least three individuals. The 33 year old suspect, who was identified as Christopher J. Dorner, was in 2008 fired from the Los Angeles Police Department. This murderous vendetta set off a search throughout many cities in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, Torrance and San Diego. In the evening hours yesterday, however, the burned truck owned by the suspect was discovered in flames near Big Bear, a popular summer and ski resort about 100 miles from San Diego.

The story has been covered in nearly all of the daily print and electronic news. In addition, the article noted the former cop posted on Facebook what was described as a rambling 6000 word manifesto threatening more violence due to racism and corruption in the LAPD as he pledged to kill two dozen named police officers to retaliate for his dismissal allegedly as a result of filing a false report accusing a colleague of abuse. He further claimed he sought to clear his name before resorting to violence but was not successful as he struggled with severe depression from the sequence of events.

The sad reality is that these senseless murders could have been avoided. Dorner would likely have benefited from psychiatric care and treatment for his acknowledged depression and been able to control his anger and rage and/or utilize meaningful steps and tools in order to lead a productive life, given his background , knowledge and skills.”

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