Blame Game

Scammer Bob Owens whines that others are also at fault for his crimes, but he's sentenced to 10 years in prison anyway

"I put myself in a bad position," Owens told the judge, referring to his practice of collecting fees for Thinnes (some of which, records show, he diverted for himself, with or without Thinnes' okay).

If Mr. Thinnes hadn't died, I don't know what the [State] Bar would have done," Owens said, apparently trying to divert attention from himself onto a dead man.

He pointed out that he also had done work for other prominent Phoenix criminal-defense attorneys, specifically naming Larry Debus, Larry Kazan and the late Mike Vaughn.

As his attorney stood by mutely, Owens suggested he would have been able to beat the charges had he been allowed to fight each of the cases one by one instead of as a whole.

By now, Dichter — who had done a fine job of winning Owens a favorable plea bargain, under the circumstances — surely wanted to silence his unrepentant client.

If Judge Ishikawa had chosen to question Owens about his alleged lack of culpability, it might have led to a last-minute rejection of the plea bargain.

But the judge simply stared down at Owens and spoke briefly of the "devastating financial harm and betrayal of trust" caused by the defendant.

Whatever Owens had hoped to gain by his off-kilter rant against his victims and just about everyone else (including AG investigator Mike Edwards and the prosecutor) for his "plight," it didn't work.

Obviously unmoved, Ishikawa did what the prosecutor had requested, ordering Owens to serve that extra year at the county jail after finishing his prison term.

The jail time, the judge noted, is to be served in its entirety without possibility for early release.

Owens' shoulders slumped, and he answered with a meek "Yes, sir" when Ishikawa asked him if he understood.

Ishikawa set a June 29 hearing, where anyone who wishes to appeal for restitution from Owens may speak to the court. The judge already has ordered Owens to pay certain victims up to $536,162 in money stolen, though how much will actually get to those people is uncertain.

Anyone who has questions about the restitution hearing should call the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and ask for prosecutor Van Wie.

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