To Catch a Thief

A con man who worked for high-powered Phoenix attorneys, and who himself impersonated a lawyer, plea-bargains to theft

Owens shrugged and paused briefly before answering, "Yes, sir," to each charge.

One of the victims was a Goodyear widow for whom he'd allegedly been working gratis to distribute a life-insurance benefit payable to her after her husband's death. In that case, Owens stole about $28,000.

Judge Ishikawa reminded Owens that a restitution hearing for victims is pending, where the crook will be ordered to repay up to $3 million.

Investigator Edwards has said Owens still controls about $500,000 in assets, a sum that apparently won't cover everything he stole from his most recent victims.

After the hearing ended, a detention officer led the handcuffed and shackled Owens back to jail to await sentencing, scheduled for May 4.

In the hallway after the session, Owens' veteran attorney, Steve Dichter, seemed relieved that the plea bargain finally was official.

"We worked very closely with the County Attorney's Office to resolve this case fairly, and I think we did," Dichter said as prosecutor Van Wie and Edwards listened in. "To my way of thinking, it's a fair disposition."

In truth, it's a very fortunate disposition for Owens, who effectively was looking at a life sentence if he'd risked going to trial and lost.

The prosecutor and investigator silently gave each other high-fives in the courthouse elevator.

Van Wie had worked this case longer and harder than any other in her career as a deputy county attorney and seemed satisfied with the apparent outcome. Edwards, a retired Chandler detective for whom this was a career case, certainly wouldn't have minded a much longer sentence for Owens, but he, too, appeared pleased.

Some of Owens' victims are expected to testify at his sentencing next month.

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3 comments
DEL
DEL

Correction: State Bar was informed of Thinnes and Owens in July 2002. All victims after that date can thank the enablers at the State Bar of Arizona.

DEL
DEL

I feel very sorry for all of Owens victims, most especially those after July 2007. Thomas Thinnes and Robert Owens were reported to the State Bar by myself and I gave them exacting details of their joint criminal conspiracy and fraudulent schemes. Unfortunately, Thinnes had the State Bar in his pocket and they refused to take any action. The State Bar victim compensation fund is also a joke and was in the pocket of Thinnes and Owens, as they also chose to look the other way and do nothing despite evidence beyond all doubt that Thinnes/Owens were a thieves.

Thinnes is where he belongs in Hell, and Owens will be in Hell on earth for now. Those members of the State Bar who looked the other way for one of there own have a pit of fire alongside Thinnes waiting for them.

Carol Rizzo
Carol Rizzo

Hope this gets directly to you Paul. I don't know if you caught it yesterday. Owens attorney was not happy that the Judge had a copy of all your news articles. He was talking about Owens past and said something about the fact that the Judge had the articles you wrote because Rizzo sent them to you. I really think that they made a difference to the Judge.

Once again thank you for all that you have done. I look forward to you article.

Carol Rizzo

 
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