Baldwin gets probation, repays Phoenix doctor
North Shore resident Gary James Baldwin, 56, this week received a year’s probation after making restitution of over $250,000 to a Phoenix-area eye surgeon in a drawn out and bizarre case of apparent theft and fraud.
The case dates back to late 1984 and crosses several state lines, and involves Baldwin, former president and chief executive officer of the Kaua’i Economic Development Board, and a prominent Phoenix eye surgeon, in an apparent private-jet sale gone sour.
Baldwin in 1986 was indicted on four counts of theft and one count of fraud, for allegedly making unauthorized electronic transfers from accounts in the doctor’s name.
Baldwin claimed he didn’t know about the sealed indictment until he was arrested at his Waipake home last summer.
An arrest warrant wasn’t issued until November of 2001, according to case records from the Maricopa County Superior Court’s criminal court.
Baldwin, now with the Economic Development Alliance of Hawai’i, was arrested at Waipake on Monday, July 22, 2002, on a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
He pleaded not guilty in August that year, and was released that month on a $274,000 bond raised in part by friends on Kaua’i.
In January this year, he changed his plea in a plea agreement to no contest, during the same court appearance where his attorney’s motion to dismiss the case was denied.
Sentencing was scheduled for yesterday, Tuesday, April 8, but because Baldwin made the restitution, the charges were reduced from felonies to misdemeanor crimes, and the year’s probation was ordered by the court.
The crimes allegedly occurred during the latter part of 1984, and according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, when Baldwin found out about the warrant, he left a suicide note and disappeared, apparently from Colorado.
The case allegedly involves a private jet sale, where Baldwin apparently brokered a deal to sell a jet to a Phoenix eye surgeon, with whom he had become friends and been a business consultant for, after they met through mutual friends in Colorado.
Baldwin could have faced years in prison with no chance for probation if he had gone to trial and lost, because of the multiple offenses, according to a general crimes sentencing ranges sheet from the Maricopa County attorney’s office.
The minimum sentence for the fraud charge is three years, with a maximum of 12.5 years. Each of the four theft charges could have carried sentences of two to seven years, could have been imposed for each charge, and could have been ordered to be served consecutively, for a total, potentially, of 35 years.
If convicted of all the charges, and given the stiffest possible sentences, ordered served consecutively, Baldwin could have faced over 47 years in prison. If convicted and given minimum sentences, served concurrently, the jail time could have been as little as three years.
Baldwin could not be reached for comment yesterday.