Files detail fraud case of Kaua'i ex-official
By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kaua'i Bureau
LIHU'E, Kaua'i The Gary Baldwin described by police is a classic con man, changing his appearance, changing his résumé, readily easing into the company of the famous and powerful.
Photo courtesy News 8
Gary Baldwin was arrested by the FBI Monday.
Photo courtesy News 8
The local Baldwin was one of Gov. Ben Cayetano's appointees to the first Hawai'i Tourism Authority board of directors. He was a friend of U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, D-Hawai'i. The mayor and County Council on Kaua'i approved his appointment to the county planning commission, of which he was chairman.
Could they be the same man? Law enforcement officials say he is.
Baldwin, 55, has been in Honolulu police custody since his arrest by the FBI Monday, on a federal warrant charging unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. He is represented by attorney Phil Lowenthal, who has made no comment on the case. Friends on Kaua'i are collecting letters of support, and there is talk of a fund-raiser to help his defense.
Baldwin will appear in Circuit Court this afternoon to face extradition to Arizona, to face charges that he defrauded a Phoenix-area eye doctor of more than $300,000 in the 1980s after gaining the doctor's confidence and managing his investments.
According to legal documents, a key figure in the case is a man named Arthur Jackson, now a private investigator in Cobb County, Ga. In an affidavit that has been submitted to Circuit Judge Rey Graulty, Jackson says he is the man who introduced Baldwin to Dr. David Dulaney.
Jackson said Baldwin was a neighbor of late entertainer John Denver in Colorado, and was a contributor to his Windstar Foundation. A Maricopa County sheriff's report says Baldwin and Denver knew each other and Baldwin served Windstar Foundation's board of advisers.
Jackson said he served as development coordinator for Denver's Windstar Foundation in 1985 and then he joined Dulaney's clinic as business manager the next year.
The Arizona Baldwin in the mid-1980s was "stocky" but not fat, Jackson said.
Jackson said Baldwin told him he had been obese, lost weight and had surgery to remove excess skin. The scars from that surgery were listed as identifying characteristics on the 1986 warrant for his arrest. The Arizona Baldwin was bald but wore a wig, Jackson said.
The Kaua'i Baldwin was obese, although friends said he had recently lost considerable weight because of illness. He is bald but wore no wig.
In Colorado, Baldwin was president of an aircraft charter firm, Jet Services, at the Boulder County Airport. The company managed planes that were owned by investors, Jackson said. Baldwin also had an interest in a car rental agency, Jackson said.
The Kaua'i Baldwin managed a Thrifty Car Rental franchise and later owned a National Car Rental franchise. He also operated a wholesale bakery and a retail ice cream franchise, both of which closed during the 1990s.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's office report says Dulaney hired Baldwin in 1984 to handle financial matters for him and received a résumé, but never checked its accuracy. When a sheriff's investigator checked on the résumé, he found false entries regarding education, academic degrees and responsibilities at jobs.
"Each claim which suspect Baldwin made in his résumé has been checked out and found to be false except that Baldwin did serve on the Board of Advisors for Windstar Foundation and he was employed by Dr. Dulaney in the capacities as so stated in his résumé," wrote detective Ken Floyd.
Floyd's report says Baldwin transferred money from Dulaney's accounts, most of them to Baldwin's aircraft charter firm, Jet Services. Jackson said Dulaney had asked Baldwin to assist him in buying a jet. Some of the transferred money was spent for items on Dulaney's behalf but tens of thousands of dollars was never accounted for, the report says.
The FBI on Monday said more than $300,000 was missing.
Dulaney told police that he and associates confronted Baldwin on Dec. 31, 1984. He said Baldwin admitted the discrepancies and said he would repay them. In April 1985, Dulaney filed a civil suit against Baldwin, the report said.
Jackson said Baldwin disappeared in January 1986 and that his rental car was found at the airport. He had left behind a note that told an associate where to find his valuables and designating who was to receive them. Some viewed it as a suicide note, but Jackson said "we believed he had skipped town."
Jackson said he continued to try to track Baldwin down over the years, and in June 2001, studied the Federal Election Commission database on the Internet, and found Baldwin's name listed in Hawai'i. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 last year put the case on the back burner, Jackson said, but this year he worked with the Maricopa County attorney and the FBI to revive the case against Baldwin.
While his persistence has put Baldwin behind bars, Jackson said they were once close. He said Baldwin sometimes let him ride on the company's charter aircraft.
"I knew Mr. Baldwin very well and would have considered him as one of my best friends," he said.