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July 31, 2014

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No win in court for this Wynn; charges dismissed against Romanian doctor

Even an upset ex-lover with the last name “Wynn” couldn’t convince a judge that the Romanian doctor she showered with money should be found criminally liable for allegedly lying to get the money.

Phyllis Wynn, 62, had been able to convince Las Vegas Metro detectives to investigate her allegations, and the Clark County District Attorney’s Office filed charges. Bail for the doctor, Ovidiu Balteanu, 42, originally was set at $5 million earlier this month.

But during a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Justice Court Judge Joe Bonaventure didn’t buy any of it. He ruled that armed with the police investigation, prosecutors never proved Balteanu defrauded Wynn of $54,000.

Balteanu’s attorney Dayvid Figler characterized the whole matter as “an affair of the heart that should have never been brought to court.”

Bonaventure dismissed the charge of “obtaining money under false pretenses,” saying the prosecution was unable to prove all four prongs of a false-pretenses test. That is, Balteanu never defrauded Wynn because she admitted she considered much of the money she gave to Balteanu a “loan” that is still open.

The dark-haired Balteanu, wearing a black silk suit and white dress shirt, did not testify. Wynn, wearing a form-fitting gray body-sweater, testified for almost an hour.

Starting in May, Wynn had written checks to Balteanu for $54,000. The first check of $19,400 she designated as a loan, which the Romanian said he needed to cover the expense of a Kaplan course he needed to take to become a licensed physician in the United States. Over time, Wynn also wrote Balteanu checks for living expenses.

At one point, Wynn testified they planned to be married. In fact, when her house was undergoing some renovation, she and Balteanu stayed for a month at The Palazzo, where Wynn introduced Balteanu as her fiancé.

Wynn said she had previously been married to a relative of casino owner Steve Wynn and has kept the name after being divorced more than 15 years ago.

Prosecutor Trevor Hayes said Wynn’s testimony that she only gave money to Balteanu because he said he was using it to study for the physicians exam demonstrated false pretenses. Figler, however, provided receipts from Balteanu for medical books purchased through Amazon, as well as a receipt from Kaplan.

After the preliminary hearing, Figler said his client would try to work out a plan to pay back at least the initial $19,400 designated as a “loan” on the check written to him.

When Balteanu was charged earlier this month, Figler added, bail was set at $5 million; but when a subsequent judge couldn’t get an explanation for the high amount, it was lowered to $50,000.

Figler said he still hasn’t been given an explanation for the “very high” bail. He did, however, have his own explanation for why charges against his client were dismissed.

“If every person was able to file criminal charges against a younger lover they gave money to in this city, half the people would be in jail and the other half would be very embarrassed,” he said.

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