By Janet Phelan
In 2006, the Los Angeles Times ran a series on judges in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Times found that Las Vegas judges were regularly influenced by monied parties and that there existed “an extensive pattern of financial and personal links among Las Vegas judges, lawyers and other players in the legal system that suggested improper influence on judicial decisions.”
Over ten years has passed since the Times’ series and it looks like little, if anything, has changed in Sin City. In fact, the scams used by judges to deny justice may have gotten closer to the chest and better protected.
On the heels of recent disclosures that Vegas judge Cynthia Giuliani had filed false financial disclosures in an apparent attempt to cover up the fact that she went bankrupt on the bench, a complaint has surfaced against Judge Giuliani, alleging considerable violations of procedure and litigant rights. Giuliani, as a family court judge, had presided over the divorce case filed by Candice Bock against her husband, Tim Bock.
Race, Connections or Simply Money?
Candice, who is African-American, has referred to the case as a psychological nightmare and has wondered if her race factored in. Certainly, litigants in family courts in multiple venues are experiencing similar judicial misbehavior. A recent article by Mike Volpe discussed a multiplicity of lawsuits filed in various states all alleging that family court judges engaged in “gaslighting.” Gaslighting, writes Mike Volpe, “is a form of mental abuse where information is twisted/spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception and sanity.”
When Tim and Candice married in 2000, she had been working at Tim’s company, Summit Portfolio Management, as an administrative assistant. At that time, the company, which went online in 1999 as a financial consulting operation, was pulling in about $120,000 a year. Candice continued to work at Summit after the two married and the company prospered, until it was doing at least a half million a year. In 2003, Candice gave birth to a son. She subsequently continued to work at Summit.
The marriage went sour and in 2011, Candice filed for divorce. Integral to her divorce case was documentation of alcohol abuse by her husband who was drinking then driving with their son in the car. Both parties made multiple accusations of spousal abuse, both physical and emotional.
The case ended up in front of Judge Cynthia Giuliani. A review of the records indicates that Giuliani did everything in her power to accommodate Tim Bock and to ignore the evidence that he lied to the court, repeatedly, concerning his financial affairs. Through her selective inattention to both evidence and law, Giuliani ensured that Candice Bock did not receive a fair and lawful settlement.
Judge Giuliani refused to admit Candice’s contributions to the business, and declared that Summit would be given to Tim in the divorce settlement. She also accepted fraudulent reports from Tim Bock and an ersatz (and unlicensed) accountant, Frank Firak, who testified that Tim owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the IRS and was also saddled with $700,000 debt to a client named Larry Bingham.
Checks which Candice produced which showed the Bingham debt to be $550,000 were ignored by the court. So were the tax transcripts showing a zero balance with the IRS. Candice was ordered to pay half the Bingham debt and half the (non existent) IRS debt. In fact, she was ordered to pay half the business debts while receiving none of the business assets.
Strangely, one of the checks from Bingham to Tim Bock was clearly not made out by Larry Bingham but instead by the recipient, Tim Bock. This raises disturbing questions about the loan entire.
As part of the divorce proceedings, a business evaluation was ordered. Candice was given three names of evaluation firms and when she chose one, her husband refused to submit to it. The business evaluation that was eventually done, by FP Transitions, did not include a Pereira accounting, which would have factored in the community property nature of the business. Oddly, the evaluation bears no signature or indication of who prepared it. When contacted, the attorney for FP Transitions became somewhat legally threatening and refused to answer any questions.
Depriving Candice of the right to counsel, Giuliani forced her into trial without an attorney after Judge Giuliani refused to allow attorney fees to her counsel, Emily Benson, causing Benson to quit days before the divorce trial. In her complaint against Giuliani to the Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission, Bock shows that Giuliani lied on the record about the Parenting Plan, stating it had not been finalized and using this untrue statement as leverage to compel Candice into court without an attorney.
Following her Motion to Continue being denied, Candice states that she was threatened by the court clerk, that if she didn’t show up (solo) for trial she would lose custody of her son, because this Parenting Plan (in fact finalized and submitted to the court weeks prior) had not been finalized.
The record shows that the finalized parenting plan was filed with the court on May 24, considerably before the trial and before Giuliani declared it not to have been filed.
On the first day of the trial, Candice asked again for a continuance so that she could obtain counsel. (She had already submitted a motion to this effect.) Again, Giuliani lied, stating that the case had already been continued (false) and she would not grant another continuance.
The response by Kirby Wells, representing Tim Bock, to this motion is reproduced here. Both its tone and content, denying any importance to Candice being represented at the trial as well as attorney Wells’ brazen lies about the Bingham loan and the IRS debt confabulation, should be noted.
As it turned out, Wells’ attorneys fees far exceeded those of Candice’s counsel. Wells, of course, was paid.
Keep it Quiet!
This case has been sealed by order of Judge Arthur Ritchie, at the district level. Recently, Bock and his new attorney, Curtis Rawlings, filed a motion to have Candice Bock jailed on contempt of court for her gall in giving divorce documents to a reporter.
A sealed case, however, does not constitute a gag order. Judge Ritchie stopped short of ordering Tim’s ex- wife into jail. Judge Ritchie did, however, take a significant swipe at Candice Bock, who had filed a statement with the court that she could not attend due to medical treatment for heart and blood pressure issues. Ritchie misstated her medical needs and announced that Candice was receiving mental health treatment. He also stated that Candice, who had set up a page online to receive monies to pay for her son’s medical treatment, was thereby trying to “harm her son.”
The page, which has since been taken down, never mentioned her son’s name and did indeed feature an older picture of the child.
The motion filed by Bock’s attorney also falsely declared that Candice had made no effort to contact her son in months. A review of Candice Bock’s phone records reveals dozens of calls to her son every month.
This hearing took place in January of 2018. Ritchie then awarded temporary and full custody of the son to Tim Bock. The use of a non-existent mental condition to both change custody and to determine that Candice was now “dangerous” to her son paves the way for revocation of permanent custody as well as for further orders that would involuntarily remand Candice into the hands of the psychiatric system.
Kafka got nothing on the Bock divorce trial
Back in 2011, certain manipulations of reported income and expenditures took place during the two day trial in order to relieve Tim Bock of what would otherwise be a hefty divorce settlement in terms of alimony and child support. The misrepresentation of the IRS debt, which Bock’s accountant, Frank Firak, declared in trial Exhibit Y to be approximately $247,500, was one major stone in the construction of the robbery of Candice Bock.
As an SEC registered financial advisor, Bock is prohibited from taking loans from a client, such as Bingham. This also apparently did not concern the judge.
In addition, Giuliani accepted as bona fide proof of credit card debt some pieces of paper which did not even have the account holder listed. Nevada law states that in order to be acceptable as evidence, credit card information must contain historical data. Once again, Giuliani breezed over the legal requirements, allowing these unnamed pieces of paper, with no history of charges or payments recorded, to stand in as evidence and then ordering Candice Bock to pay half of a credit card debt which may not even exist.
At one point, Giuliani ludicrously stated that Tim was in the “14,000 range” in terms of monthly income, underreporting what he had filed with the court in terms of financial disclosures by about one half. In fact, according to attorney Emily Benson, at the time of the divorce Summit’s income was closer to $48,000 a month. In further attempts to gaslight and control the financial outcome of the trial, Judge Giuliani declared that “you guys have nothing.”
Before resigning, attorney Emily Benson made some telling comments concerning Tim Bock’s ability, as a financial professional, to misrepresent his finances. It was of interest that Bock, a financial advisor, declared no investments whatsoever.
In a hearing in September of 2015, Candice’s present attorney, John Jones, baldly stated that Tim Bock misrepresented his income to the court by 100%. Jones was verbally slapped down by Judge Ritchie in that hearing. Ritchie did not deny this accusation, but rather tersely said “What does that have to do with this (a request from counsel that Tim provide proof that he was paying a tutor for the son). Judge Ritchie went on to tellingly state that “The court is stopping short of requiring any kind of ongoing accounting to your client….That’s what I am trying to avoid.”
Equally, Judge Ritchie did not seem too concerned by earlier motions filed by Candice Bock which alleged that her husband was drinking heavily during his time with the son. The Bocks have shared legal custody. Ritchie acknowledged that the excessive drinking had indeed taken place and fined Tim Bock a whopping $500. And that was it.
Hardly a deterrent for someone making at least a half million a year. In fact, Candice had appealed for a change in the shared custody arrangement, as clear endangerment had been documented by Tim’s alcohol consumption and driving with the child in the car. Ritchie did not change the custody arrangement and also refused Candice’s request for attorney’s fees, which essentially penalized her for filing the request.
Escape from Las Vegas
Candice left Las Vegas last year, stating that she was going elsewhere to receive medical attention. She reports that she was being stalked by her ex-husband and his cohorts, whom she says ruined the business she was trying to start up and were intent on ruining her, as well, through a well orchestrated slander campaign, which she states was disseminated not only through the business community but also through her son’s school. She was frightened by the activity around her and thought she would be able to assert her quest for justice from a more distant and undisclosed location.
Before leaving Las Vegas, Candice had been doing extensive research on the judge who paved the way for her financial and personal nightmare, and had found evidence that Judge Cynthia Giuliani had not only committed a felony in filing false financial declarations with the State of Nevada, declarations which effectively omitted any mention of her on-the-bench bankruptcy. Candice Bock also found considerable irregularities in the bankruptcy itself and had made contact with other individuals who had been similarly devastated by Giuliani’s performance on the divorce court bench.
It was her intention to reassert her personal security and find redress for Giuliani’s and Ritchie’s acts on the bench.
Round and Round We Go…..
However, this has proven more difficult than she could have anticipated. The Nevada Attorney General’s office has stiffly advised that any concerns about judges need to be entered into the Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission. The Commission, however, refuses to consider any criminal acts committed by judges, including the alleged felony of perjured financial declarations. And the DA’s office disingenuously advised Candice to engage the AG’s office.
Candice now despairs at ever finding justice. She wonders if she will ever again see her son. Her calls are going unanswered, both to her son and to her ex-husband.
And Cynthia Giuliani continues on in another family court assignment, with bulletproof protection provided by both the legal system as well as by the baffling silence of the local press. Giuliani has apparently recovered quite well from her bankruptcy, as she and her husband are again buying up multiple properties in Las Vegas.
Neither Tim Bock nor attorney Curtis Rawlings could be reached for comment. Questions tendered to the Clark County Court were answered by a refusal to comment.
Kirby Wells, the attorney who initially represented Tim Bock, agreed to be interviewed. He stated he could not remember many of the details of the case and when I brought up the existence of certain evidence, he stated that he was “not going to do legal research” and would “charge” for going back through the file to pinpoint the evidence mentioned.
Nevertheless, I sent him the IRS transcripts, showing that there was zero debt to the IRS, contrary to what he and his client and Frank Firak had alleged. Wells responded by saying that the courts had already adjudicated this.
The AG’s office has declined to respond to further concerns about Giuliani’s perjured declarations. Recent news reports have focused on allegations that Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt has used his office to interfere in legal matters, allegedly to his own financial benefit. It appears that law enforcement has not taken up an investigation of the multiple claims.
And that Los Angeles Times series on Vegas and judge buying? A flurry of efforts to make judges appointed rather than elected was pushed forward in Nevada and defeated at the polls. And Vegas keeps on swingin’ to the tune of who’s got the moolah.
Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist and author of the groundbreaking , EXILE. Her articles previously appeared in such mainstream venues as the Los Angeles Times, Orange Coast Magazine, Long Beach Press Telegram, etc. In 2004, Janet “jumped ship” and now exclusively writes for independent media. She is also the author of two collections of poetry—The Hitler Poems and Held Captive. She resides abroad. You can follow her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012703457651