Leopold Weinstein, known as Dr. Leo, was sentenced to one year imprisonment for being accused of setting fire to two rival dental practices.
Dr. Leo, a native of Cleveland, is a Moorpark resident who operated the now closed dental office on Ponderosa Road, Spanish Hill Dental Group, at Camarillo. Aged 65, he has been in the dentistry profession for more than 35 years
Dr. Leo was declared guilty in March 2016 to six felony counts of arson and attempted arson along with burning down dental offices between June 2014 and January 2015.
The prosecutors describe this act of Dr. Leo as a ‘weird’ scheme to defame the insurance industry, with Dr. Leo accepting his crime and being ordered by the judge to serve in county jail for one year.
Although 365 days imprisonment was declared by the judge initially, but the court reduced the duration to as few as 180 days by including the time Dr. Leo had spent in custody while waiting for the trial in the 365 days period.
The prosecutors had pursued prison time for Dr. Leo, but keeping the age and the fact that he has no criminal records, the judge reduced his punishment by announcing no prison time for him.
The investigation started up in June 2014 when maintenance workers caught two containers of flammable liquids on the roof of Rosewood Dental Group on Mission Oaks Boulevard, three miles from Dr. Leo’s office.
Within two weeks one more dental office was set on fire, not completely but only a part of the roof. Evidence was gathered for three more arson attempts on the same two buildings for July 24, September 12, and September 19.
Weinstein was taken into consideration by the investigators when a truck was seen late at night in the parking lot of one of the targeted buildings, Camarillo Dental location, by a person. That person soon captured a picture of the truck and passed it on to the investigators and brought a new suspect to them for this case.
The vehicle was matched with the one described by another witness from the prior incident and was found that it belonged to Weinstein.
The Rosewood dental office, which had five dentists practicing there, was set on fire in September 2014 and January 2015. The January 2015 incident was captured by the surveillance camera present at the location and showed Weinstein setting the dental office at fire.
Weinstein was then arrested from his home two days after the incident and charged with the six felony counts.
The police suspected that Weinstein had done all this for financial gains, whereas Ventura County Senior Deputy District Attorney, Richard Simon, suspected this was an attempt to take out hatred for the insurance companies.
Richard Simon termed it a weird case as Weinstein had no criminal record in the past, but suddenly gets an insane plan in mind to burn down other dental offices in the city to improve billing practices or insurance companies’ policies. Weinstein explains that if other suffered loss then they will group together against the insurance companies on their billing policies.
Weinstein admitted in the court that he had repetitively tried to set fire other dentists’ offices in the city.
Weinstein’s attorney, William Haney, proved in the court that the suspect was suffering from brain damage related to stroke, through a psychiatric report.