Updated Monday, June 29 – 11:40 am
A former Newport Beach dentist dubbed the “rolled-sleeves bandit” was sentenced today to five years in federal prison for the theft of more than $21,000 from seven banks on the Southern California coast.
Damian Newhart, 41, was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release after his release from prison and pay restitution of about $21,000, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Kendall.
Newhart pleaded guilty to three bank robbery counts, and admitted to four others as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Newhart was arrested in January at an Inglewood dental office after he was recognized from security video the FBI distributed via local media.
His dental license was revoked in 2014 after it was determined that he wrote bogus prescriptions for painkillers and other drugs for his own use, court papers show.
Newhart got his nickname based on the button-down shirts he wore with the sleeves rolled up during the heists, according to the FBI.
In the holdups, which took place between last November and January, he usually distracted tellers by saying he was a signatory on his girlfriend’s bank account and asking for verification of that information. He then demanded cash verbally or with a note, saying he had a gun, prosecutors said.
Newhart admitted robbing four banks in Huntington Beach, and others in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica. He was on probation in Orange County at the time of his arrest.
Newhart was previously convicted of grand theft and passing bad checks, as well as prescribing controlled substances to patients and non-patients — including himself — for other than legitimate medical purposes.
According to a pre-sentencing brief, Newhart began abusing Vicodin in 2007 or 2008, when he owned his dental practice and his marriage was on the ropes. In 2010, he began abusing cocaine, spending hundreds of dollars per day to maintain his habit, while continuing to take Vicodin.
His addictions became so bad that he stopped practicing dentistry in October 2012 and checked into a residential drug treatment facility for about three months, federal prosecutors wrote.
In January 2013, Newhart left the facility and stayed clean for about a year. However, he subsequently relapsed, and started drinking and using the opiate painkiller Norco, according to the document.
When his divorce was finalized last July, and the state Dental Board revoked his license to practice, Newhart stopped attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and began using painkillers heavily, buying Norco from street dealers in Inglewood, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors wrote in court papers that Newhart had “demonstrated extraordinary acceptance of responsibility for his criminal conduct by signing a plea agreement within 30 days of his arrest.”