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A soured romance: Charges dismissed against Romanian doctor

Their’s was a romance of the modern age.

He was a Romanian doctor looking for medical accreditation in America.

She was the divorced wife of Las Vegas royalty looking for love.

Ovidiu Balteanu and Phyllis Wynn met on the Internet. Sparks flew. Then came the criminal accusations.

Balteanu was arrested earlier this month on five counts of obtaining money under false pretenses.

His arrest came about 10 days after Wynn wrote him the last of six checks totaling about $57,000, which he said was for medical accreditation prep courses.

But Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure on Thursday dismissed the charges against Balteanu after a four-hour hearing where Wynn testified she loaned money to her lover, even after she suspected he was not using the money for that purpose.

Bonaventure said he could not determine Wynn was defrauded based on the evidence presented, which included that there was no agreed-upon time by which Balteanu had to repay her.

Balteanu, with blue eyes and a thick shock of well-manicured brown hair, appeared in court wearing a silky charcoal suit.

Wynn, in her 60s and at least 15 years removed from a marriage to the brother of casino mogul Steve Wynn, sported blond hair and a petite figure.

Under cross examination by defense lawyer Dayvid Figler, Wynn admitted some of the money she gave to Balteanu was so he could dress himself well as she introduced him to people.

She said she felt sorry for Balteanu, who told her tales of woe about his deceased family and lonely life in Romania.

She said one check for $19,400 had a memo stating it was a loan, but there was no due date.

Figler said that his client could have paid back that money, but police seized $70,000 when he was arrested.

The eight-month romance included a monthlong stint at the Palazzo hotel-casino, where Wynn wrote him five of the six checks.

After their breakup Wynn went to authorities saying that she had been duped into the loan and that she believed he never used the money toward his medical accreditation.

But Balteanu was able to show he spent $4,000 on medical books.

The amount of money he spent on prep courses for medical exams was unclear but could have totaled up to $20,000.

Figler said his client was relieved following Bonaventure’s decision.

The lawyer added that misrepresentations are common in intimate relationships.

If every wealthy person sought criminal prosecution over money loaned to their younger lovers in Las Vegas, “there would be a lot of people in jail and a lot of people embarrassed,” Figler said.

Prosecutors could still seek a grand jury indictment against Balteanu.

Prosecutor Trevor Hayes declined to comment on whether the case would be brought to a grand jury after Bonaventure’s decision.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas police have stated in court documents that Balteanu was a person of interest in the theft of
$2 million in jewelry from Wynn’s home.

Balteanu has not been charged.

A police report noted that following his breakup with Wynn, Balteanu began a relationship with another Las Vegas woman who gave him $30,000 for courses to help him gain his medical accreditation.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

 

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