June 13, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Former Dentist Sentencing Today for Robbing Seven Banks

140253215A former Newport Beach dentist who’s been dubbed the “rolled-sleeves bandit” and who is responsible for the theft of more than $21,000 from seven banks on the Southern California coast is scheduled to be sentenced this morning.

Damian Newhart, 41, pleaded guilty to three bank robbery counts, and admitted to four others as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, who are recommending a four-year prison term, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.

Newhart was arrested in January at an Inglewood dental office after he was recognized from security video the FBI distributed to local media, authorities said.

His dental license was revoked in 2014 after it was determined that he wrote bogus prescriptions for painkillers and other drugs for his own use, court papers show.

Newhart got his nickname based on the button-down shirts he wore with the sleeves rolled up during the heists, according to the FBI.

In the holdups, which took place between last November and January, he usually distracted tellers by saying he was a signatory on his girlfriend’s bank account and asking for verification of that information, officials said. He then demanded cash verbally or with a note, saying he had a gun, prosecutors said.

Newhart admitted robbing four banks in Huntington Beach, and others in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica.

Newhart was on probation in Orange County at the time of his arrest, officials said.

He was previously convicted of grand theft and passing bad checks, as well as prescribing controlled substances to patients and non-patients — including himself — for other than legitimate medical purposes, prosecutors said.

According to a sentencing brief, Newhart began abusing Vicodin in 2007 or 2008, when he owned his dental practice and his marriage was struggling.

In 2010, he began abusing cocaine, spending hundreds of dollars per day to maintain his habit, while continuing to take Vicodin.

His addictions became so bad that he stopped practicing dentistry in October 2012 and checked into a residential drug treatment facility for about three months, federal prosecutors wrote.

In January 2013, Newhart left the facility and stayed clean for about a year. However, he subsequently relapsed, and started drinking and using the opiate painkiller Norco, according to the document.

When his divorce was finalized last July, and the state Dental Board revoked his license to practice, Newhart stopped attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and began using painkillers heavily, buying Norco from street dealers in Inglewood, prosecutors said.

In recommending a 51-month prison sentence, federal prosecutors wrote that Newhart had “demonstrated extraordinary acceptance of responsibility for his criminal conduct by signing a plea agreement within 30 days of his arrest.”

in Crime, News
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